Police are investigating a series of scams after fraudsters targeted pensioners in Forfar – including a 97-year-old woman.
Officers say the first incident involved a woman, 76, who was conned out of thousands of pounds when crooks contacted her claiming there had been suspicious activity involving her bank card.
Police say the woman was persuaded over the phone by the fraudster to go to her bank and withdraw a four-figure sum of money.
The woman was also told to buy a watch from a local jeweller worth a five-figure sum and then hand the money and watch over to a man pretending to be a police officer in a car park in Perth.
On November 15, the 97-year-old was called by a woman claiming to be from her bank, who said there had been an attempt to withdraw a substantial sum of money from the pensioner’s account.
The caller then said to the woman that in order to safeguard her account, she was to hand over her bank card and pin number to a police officer who would visit her address in Forfar later that day.
Someone claiming to be from the police then visited her home and took the card.
However their attempt to withdraw a five-figure sum from the elderly woman’s account was declined by the bank.
Crimes ‘play on people’s trust’
Meanwhile, on the same day, a man aged 76 was called by someone claiming to be from his bank’s fraud team.
He was asked to go to his bank and withdraw a five-figure sum of money and then wait at home for two police officers to arrive and collect the cash.
Again, the man’s bank declined the withdrawal and no money was taken.
Sergeant Andy Sheppard, of Tayside Division, said: “Thankfully two out of the three frauds were unsuccessful, thanks in part to the banks involved, however, this type of crime plays on the trust of people who would never think that an approach from the ‘police’ or ‘their bank’ would be fraudulent.
These fraudsters are extremely plausible… they prey on the most vulnerable people in our community
”The impact of this type of crime on the victims can be substantial and long-lasting. It is imperative that we track down those responsible and bring them to justice.
”These fraudsters are extremely plausible. They prey on the most vulnerable people in our community.
”While we are appealing for any information about these crimes, we are also highlighting this to make people aware that it is happened in the Forfar area.”
The officer is encouraging people with elderly relatives or friends to let them know these crimes have happened.
He added: ”We appreciate that some calls will genuinely be from a bank or police but neither will ever ask you to verify your personal details or pin by phone or offer to pick up your bank card in person.
“A police officer will never ask you to take part in an investigation in which you need to withdraw money from the bank or purchase high-value goods.
“If you are called by somebody stating they are a police officer or from your bank and you are unsure who they are and who they are claiming to be, terminate the call, wait a few minutes as sometimes the fraudster waits on the line after you think the line had been disconnected, then call 101 or your bank to check if the call is genuine.
”If you have any information about the incidents in Forfar, then please call police via 101 quoting reference number 2973 of November 19 2021.
“Details can also be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”