Detectives are urging witnesses to come forward after an elderly Chester man was scammed out of thousands of pounds.
He received a call on Wednesday, May 2, from a man purporting to be a London-based senior police officer, who told him someone had been using his credit card and the money in his account was not safe.
The victim, from Chester, was tricked into believing he had verified the so-called senior police officer’s identity by calling 999.
He was then coerced into withdrawing a large quantity of money in Euros – believed to be worth thousands of pounds – and handing it over to a courier for ‘safekeeping’.
This fake courier collected the money from Rowcliffe Avenue in Chester at about 3.30pm on Wednesday, May 2, after the bogus police officer arranged for the victim to meet him there.
The courier is described as a young man aged around 25 years old. He had dark skin and a south Asian appearance and was wearing all dark clothing, including a black T-shirt.
Cheshire Police are urging anyone who saw him or has dashcam footage of a man fitting that description in the area around that time to get in touch.
They are also keen to hear from anyone who thinks they may know the identities of the courier or the fake senior police officer who called the victim.
Detective Constable Stephen Owens said: “The victim has been tricked into handing over a large quantity of money and has been left devastated by this scam.
“We are determined to catch the people responsible and bring them to justice. Enquiries are ongoing and I urge anyone who thinks they saw the courier or has dashcam footage of him to call Cheshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 52954, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
“We also want to hear from anyone who thinks they may know the identities of anyone involved in this scam.”
The force’s advice on avoiding such scams is:
Do not engage with people over the phone who are requesting money and be wary of any calls, texts or emails purporting to be from the police asking for your personal or financial details or for you to transfer money
The police will never ask you to become part of an undercover investigation or for you to withdraw money and hand it to them for safekeeping.
If you are approached, or feel something is suspicious, hang up the phone and do not reply and then report it to police on 101 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. You should also inform your bank on its advertised number.
DC Owens added: “If you have been targeted by or fallen victim to this scam, or a similar one, please report it to us on 101.
“I also urge people with elderly relatives or neighbours to ensure that they are aware of this scam and of the force’s advice on avoiding such scams.”