18 December 2020

Police appeal after elderly people are scammed in Bridport

Police appeal after elderly people are scammed in Bridport

DETECTIVES are appealing for the public’s help to identify fraudsters who scammed two elderly Bridport residents into handing over thousands of pounds.

Sometime between 10am and 10.30am on Wednesday 9 December 2020 the first victim – a woman aged in her 70s – received a phone call from someone purporting to be a detective sergeant from Oxford police.

The caller told the victim a man had been caught with her bank card and urged her to go to the bank and withdraw £4,700. She returned home with the cash, where it was arranged for a courier to attend her home in Happy Island Way. A male courier arrived between 4.30pm and 5pm to collect the money.

The courier is described as white, very tall and thin, approximately aged in his early 20s and with dark curly hair. He wore a high-visibility jacket, headlight around his head and Lycra leggings. 

The victim suspected some time later that she may have been scammed so she contacted her bank on Thursday 10 December 2020 and then reported the matter to Dorset Police.

A second offence is reported to have occurred on Wednesday 9 December 2020 when a man aged in his 80s received a call in the morning from a detective inspector purporting to be from Bristol police. 

The victim was told his bank account had been scammed and that £9,000 had been taken out and paid back in forged notes. He was asked to go to his bank to withdraw £6,000, but staff told him he would have to return the following day. He was advised by the scammer to go to another bank and, if needed, lie about why he needed the money. 

The victim successfully withdrew the money and a man attended the victim’s Hillview address during the afternoon to collect it.

Detective Inspector Kate Lill, of Weymouth CID, said: “These are despicable offences and a full investigation is underway to identify the people responsible. I am appealing to anyone who was in the area of Happy Island Way between 4.30pm and 5pm yesterday or Hillview and saw the man described, or a suspicious vehicle, to please contact Dorset Police.

“I would urge any motorists with dashcam who were driving in the area or residents with home CCTV systems to check their footage from this time period to see if they have captured the courier or any relevant vehicle. 

“We have received further reports of attempted frauds over recent days in other parts of West Dorset and we would like to remind everyone that police officers nor your bank will ask you to withdraw money to be collected. They will also not ask for your PIN number. If you are in any doubt, hang up and call your bank directly. 

“I would ask our communities to speak directly to elderly friends, family and neighbours about this scam so they are aware and we can prevent anyone else handing over their money to conmen.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting occurrence number 55200184989. Alternatively, to stay 100 per cent anonymous, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers online at Crimestoppers-uk.org or call Freephone 0800 555 111.