Phone fraud alert as suspects steal more than £55k in Harrogate

North Yorkshire Police has issued a warning to residents and businesses following a series of high-value frauds in Harrogate.

One woman was conned out of £50,000.

Someone has been calling victims claiming to be from the police or their bank’s fraud team. They usually say they are investigating the bank due allegations of theft from customers. They then instruct the victim to withdraw money and hand it over to a courier to be used in evidence against the bank.

Three separate incidents involving this method recently occurred in Harrogate.

Between 26 and 30 March, a 60-year-old man was conned out of £5,000. He refused to travel to London to hand the money over in person, but he agreed to pass it to a courier.

An 80-year-old woman almost lost £6,500 on 30 March. The victim became suspicious after speaking to her bank. The suspect did not re-contact her.

Two suspects targeted a 65-year-old woman between 31 March and 14 May. One man claimed he was working for the VISA fraud team and she was passed through to another man who pretended to be a police office. Over the coming days and weeks, the victim was persuaded to withdraw her money from the bank and to buy gold as a safer investment. When the gold arrived at the woman’s address, she agreed for it to be collected by a courier to be put into safe storage. She lost £50,000 in total.

North Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit is continuing to investigate these incidents.

Victims or anyone with information are asked to call North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 1, and speak to the Force Control Room.

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Please are asking anyone who can help to quote reference number 12200087225 and say it is for the attention of DC Neil Brodhurst when providing information.