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Chichester couple lose £24k after being victim to fraud

Police are issuing a warning after several people in West Sussex have fallen victim to impersonator fraud scams in the last month.

Impersonator fraud is when a victim is deceived into giving money or financial details to someone claiming for an organisations they trust.

On Tuesday (13 April), police received report that an elderly couple in Chichester had been contacted by someone claiming to be from Hammersmith Police on 25 March.

They were told that money their savings account was corrupt and they needed to send money or gold. The victims purchased £24,000 of gold bars and gave them to a man who attended their address claiming to be from Scotland Yard.

After not hearing from the suspects, they contacted Sussex Police and an investigation into this matter is underway.

Another similar case was reported in Chichester on 25 March where the victim lost £5,000 of their savings to a fraudster purporting to be an officer for the Metropolitan Police.

PC Laura Marmolejo said: "We are urging people to be vigilant if they receive an unsolicited phone call from someone talking about finances.

"There are steps you can take to ensure the person calling is who they say they are. If you’re in doubt, hang up the phone and talk to a trusted family member or friend before making any decisions about your finances.

"People who are genuinely from organisations such as the police will not make you ask you for funds or financial details.

"These are absolutely appalling crimes that exploit victims’ trust and can have a devastating effect on their lives. We are determined to find those responsible and bring them to justice.

"Anyone with information about these crimes is urged to report it to us online or by calling 101.”

Key things to remember

  • Never send or give money to anyone you don't know or trust.
  • Check people are who they say they are.
  • Don't share your personal information.
  • Make decisions in your own time.
  • If in doubt phone a relative or a friend.
  • Trust no-one who cold calls you about your bank account or a problem with your computer.

Under no circumstances would the bank or police:

  • request a card PIN or security details over the telephone, or
  • arrange collection of bank cards or money from a home address. 

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