They target the most vulnerable and trusting people in our communities, using the goodwill of the elderly to con them out of their hard-earned savings. Tonight the police are warning about the dramatic increase in scams.
There has been almost a thousand cases of so-called 'Courier Fraud' in Sussex alone in the past five months. That's where people are tricked into handing over credit or debit cards, cash and PIN numbers to someone posing as a police officer or bank official.
The police say the sheer variety of these scams are now so elaborate - everyone is a potential victim.
Andy Dickenson reports and we hear from 87-year-old scam victim Dennis, PC Bernadette Lawrie, and fraud victim Helen Brown.
Surrey Police detectives have released an e-fit of a man they would like to speak to in connection with a brazen scam which left a Gomshall man almost £28,000 out of pocket.
The victim, who is in his 70s, was contacted by a man claiming to be from the Metropolitan Police. The suspect said he was involved in distributing counterfeit money and needed the victim's help with an operation. The victim was asked to withdraw £5,000 which he handed over after meeting the suspects at a specified location in London. The victim was then asked to purchase two Rolex watches to the value of £17,900 and £4,000 worth of chips from a casino, which he also handed over. He was also asked to make a number of cash withdrawals.
The victim contacted police the following day after realising he had been duped.
Officers are also investigating after an elderly couple from Farnham almost fell victim to a bank card con on the same day.
The couple were contacted by a man claiming to be a detective inspector from Aldershot who said he had rung to let them know there had been some fraudulent activity on their bank account. The caller told them to withdraw £8,600 and that he had ordered a taxi to take them to the bank. The couple were then instructed to take the cash back home with them to keep it safe.
Police were alerted to the scam after staff at the Farnham branch of Nat West became suspicious when the couple tried to withdraw the money, foiling the fraudster's attempt.
The suspect was never seen but is believed to have maintained telephone contact with the couple throughout the incident. Despite a swift response from police, the suspect was not located and the investigation into the incident remains ongoing.
We are following up a number of lines of enquiry in relation to these offences and both investigations remain ongoing. At this stage, we cannot say whether the two incidents are linked, only that they both took place on the same day. We are urging people to be vigilant, to be aware of these scams and to protect themselves by following the precautions below.
A woman has been jailed after conning people out of more than £2,000 by making up false stories about sick and dead children. Kati Ringer, 19, received donations from kind-hearted donors who believed stories she posted on social networking websites.These included claims that she needed special equipment for her premature baby and that she needed money for her dead daughter's funeral. However, Ringer, formerly of Shoeburyness, did not have any children.
She took photos from another person's Facebook page and the internet and pretended they were her children. She also took photographs from other people's Facebook pages, defaced them and posted them on Blackberry Messenger. She was sentenced at Basildon Crown Court to nine months in jail for 14 charges of fraud and two years imprisonment for one charge of threats to commit arson, to run consecutively. She also received three months imprisonment, to run concurrently, for eight charges of harassment and malicious telecommunications offences. Ringer admitted the offences at an earlier hearing in November.
Katie Ringer acted in a cold and calculated way by abusing the kind generosity of many people who thought they were helping someone who had suffered the loss of a child or had a seriously ill child. She obtained significant financial gain from the kind hearted. She also obtained pictures from the internet of loved ones, mainly babies and small children, from people she knew. She then defaced them, adding vile comments and disgusting drawings, and re-posted them for all to see, causing devastation among the community. At no stage has she shown any remorse or responsibility for her actions.
Motorists in the Thames Valley are being warned about smartly-dressed conmen who tell them sob stories and trick them out of money.
Police say it's happened almost 30 times in just five days - on the M40 in Buckinghamshire; the M4 - including Chieveley along to Windsor, in Berkshire, and on the M25 into London. Mel Bloor sends the details..
Victims of 'scam mail' are often the elderly or most vulnerable in our society - losing hundreds of pounds - even hundreds of thousands.
Trading Standards officers launched a 'day of action' to fight back against the swindlers. Andy Dickenson met one man who used his savings to 'try his luck' - and who says he can't believe he fell for the scam.
It seems like an innocent, helpful and convincing telephone call: "There is a problem with your computer but we can fix it for you. Just give us a few details."
For many the alarm bells start ringing immediately. But sadly others - less 'computer savvy' - are taken in by the scam and don't realise it until their bank accounts are being drained.
That's what happened to a woman from Lymington, in Hampshire - the victim of one of a growing number of computer frauds aimed at unsuspecting people. Richard Slee reports.
Thousands of people have now been targeted by the Peter Pan e-mail scam. We talked to a victim. We also talked to the Pavilion Theatre in Bournemouth.
Thousands of computers have been exposed to a virus after they received a scam email about booking tickets to see a pantomime in Bournemouth this Christmas.
The email, purportedly from BH Live Tickets, claims to have tickets for Peter Pan at the Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre attached.
But clicking on the attachment will instead download a zip file containing the virus.
BH Live Tickets said they had received "a high-volume of calls" since yesterday morning about the email and confirmed it had not originated from them.
More details shortly.
Two men have been found guilty in connection with a dating website scam.
A jury of nine women and three men took two days to find the men guilty of money laundering following a three week trial.
They are: Monty Emu, aged 28, of Frencham Road, Southsea and Adewunmi Nusi, aged 26, of Bomford Close, Hermitage, Berks.
On the first day of the trial, Emmanuel Oko, aged 29, of Waverley Grove, Southsea, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and money laundering; and Chukwuka Ugwu, aged 28, of Somers Road, Southsea, pleaded guilty to money laundering.
Another defendant, Brooke Boston, aged 28, of Chelsea Road, Southsea, was found not guilty of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud.
Last week, the trial judge ordered that a further defendant, Eberechi Ekpo, aged 26, of Adair Road, Southsea, be found not guilty of money laundering and fraud by false representation.
All four have been remanded in custody until sentencing, which will take place at Winchester Crown Court during the week commencing October 13, 2014.
Vulnerable and elderly people across the South are being conned out of thousands of pounds - because of scam mail.
It's estimated that they're are losing between eleven and fourteen billion pounds a year across the country. Hampshire County Council gets 65 calls for help every month from people who've been the victims of fraudsters. ITV Meridian spoke to Pauline McWilliams from Hampshire Trading Standards.