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  1. ITV Report

Hunt widens for bank card scammers

Do you recognise this woman? Photo: North Yorkshire Police

The search for a group of fraudsters who have defrauded elderly people out of thousands of pounds in North Yorkshire has spread to the Midlands.

A CCTV image of a person detectives want to speak to has been released.

The image was captured at a travel agents in Solihull in the West Midlands when a bank card which had been taken from a 78-year-old Harrogate woman was used in a failed attempt to purchase Euros.

The card was however, successfully used in a jeweller’s store and to withdraw cash from a bank in the Coventry area. In total around £6,600 was taken from the elderly victim’s account.

The fraud is one of a number of cases being investigated by North Yorkshire Police after elderly residents have been tricked into handing over their bank cards and personal identification numbers (PIN) to people claiming to be from their bank or a utility company.

The tricksters begin by calling the victim by phone and claim that they have an unpaid bill or that a fraud has occurred on their bank account.

They then offer to send someone to the victim’s house to pick up their bank card to enable them to sort out the fraud or to settle the bill.

At some point during their conversations they persuade the unsuspecting victim to give them their pin number.

The conmen struck in Harrogate and York in late June and early July and have succeeded in stealing thousands of pounds after going to banks and travel agencies to withdraw money using their victims’ bank cards. Police issued an appeal at the time warning residents to be on their guard.

The woman in the CCTV is described as white, around 5ft 2in, of medium build and had pale skin and dark brown shoulder length hair.

These people are very plausible and charming when they contact the elderly people and it is easy to see how they can be convinced by what they are saying. In reality they are preying on elderly people’s vulnerability and trusting nature.

We are determined to catch them and bring them to justice. I am therefore asking for the public’s help to identify them as we continue our investigations.

– Detective Sergeant Lydia Davenport of Harrogate CID

Anyone who recognises the person in the image or has any information about the scams is as asked to contact Harrogate CID on 01423 539081.