A man has been arrested in connection with a ruthless scam which conned elderly pensioners out of almost £80,000.
The arrest forms part of a large scale and complex operation into a sophisticated type of fraud known as known as ‘Parcel fraud’ which sees callous criminals deliberately cold-call victims purporting to be law enforcement.
Scammers deliberately target the elderly and claim to be police officers, warning their victims about suspicious and fraudulent activity on their bank accounts. They then coerce them into sending large sums of money via a secure parcel for ‘investigation purposes’.
An investigation into the parcel fraud scam was launched last year and a total of five people have been arrested and victims identified in the UK, Canada and Australia – all had been tricked into sending cash to addresses in Newcastle upon Tyne and the South of England.
To date, police have recovered in excess of £77,000, which has since been returned to the victims.
And yesterday (Wednesday) officers from the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) travelled to London where they executed further warrants at properties in Camden and Kentish Town with assistance from the Metropolitan Police Economic Crime Unit.
A 29-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and has been released under investigation.
Detective Constable Suzie Hall of NERSOU, the officer in charge of the operation said: “Not only do these scams strip people of their hard-earned cash and life-savings but they also ruin people’s self-confidence and shatter the trust they have in law enforcement and the authorities. If you have elderly friends and family, we would encourage you to talk to them about fraud and remind them that no Police force or government organisation would ever contact the public by telephone and ask for money to be sent via courier, parcel, or transferred into a bank account.”
Detective Sergeant Shaun Fordy, also of NERSOU assisted with yesterday’s activity – he added: “Over the past few years we’ve seen an increase in this type of sophisticated fraud which deliberately targets the elderly and the vulnerable with the sole aim of coercing them into parting with as much money as possible. We are committed to tackling fraud as part of Operation Sentinel, our ongoing initiative to tackle Serious and Organised Crime in all its forms.
“We continue to vigorously pursue those criminals responsible and will make sure that victims get the help and support they need.”