Romford pensioner thwarts police-impersonating conman
12:40 04 September 2014
Police are warning the elderly to be vigilant after a Romford pensioner thwarted a police-impersonating fraudster from conning him out of his savings.
A man claiming to be a constable from Hammersmith police’s fraud squad telephoned David Wheeler, 79, of Hood Walk, last Tuesday at around 10pm and told him he was a fraud victim.
The police impersonator then tricked the man into handing over his bankcard details and his Pin number for the criminal investigation. He then advised him a courier would collect the card within the hour.
Retired engraver Mr Wheeler said: “I don’t know how I was so stupid but he was just so convincing.
“I’m of the age where I was brought up to trust the police and I fell for it.”
But the victim thought twice and began to feel uneasy that he handed over sensitive information and called his son-in-law who advised him to contact the police urgently.
Fortunately, the man’s quick actions prevent anything being stolen from him as the “courier” did not turn up.
It is possible that the fraudster kept the phone line open and listened into the pensioner’s subsequent calls and called the scam off.
Det Con Lynsey Broom, of Havering’s violent crime unit, is warning vulnerable residents to be wary of such “courier fraud”.
She said: “We are warning residents to be cautious regarding any callers who claim to be police officers - or indeed any other figures of authority. Note that genuine police would not ask for bank details or send a courier to your address to collect a card.
“Police officers who knock on your door would produce ID wallets which carry not only the MPS crest, but also a photo of the officer - and if you have any cause for concern do not allow callers into your home.”
Anyone who may have experienced similar incidents should contact the violent crime unit on 01708 779 246 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.