Elderly woman conned out of thousands by scammers pretending to be the police

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report

An elderly woman from Gloucestershire who was conned into giving £6,000 to scammers says she's now taking antidepressants to cope with the fallout.

Criminals pretending to be the police convinced the 76-year-old to withdraw cash and give it to a courier.

Speaking to ITV News West Country using the name Caroline, the pensioner says her anxiety is has made it very difficult to sleep, getting up several times a night and constantly feeling on edge.

She said: "I'm all jittery in my tummy, which is really why I went to the doctors in the end. I wasn't sleeping. It's very difficult to get motivated too because it keeps coming back in to your mind."

Scammers often claim money has been removed from a victim’s bank account and staff at their local bank branch are responsible. Credit: ITV News West Country

The conman, claiming to be a police officer from New Scotland Yard, told the victim she was one of 18 people scammed and they needed her help to collect 'hard evidence' for this 'live investigation'.

After making the 76-year-old swear an oath, the fraudster managed to convince her to withdraw £2,000 from her bank and £4,000 in euros from a travel bureau using her credit card.

He then told Caroline to use wear gloves while putting the cash in an envelope before and giving it to a courier with a password they had confirmed on the phone.

After being told to wait a week for the money to return to her account, two days after the con she confessed to her son what was bothering her.

Caroline said to her son "I shouldn't really be telling you this I said because I am under oath". He then probed for more information before realising she had been scammed.

"I just couldn't stop thinking about it, honestly it was just so traumatic, especially when you're talking about it," she said.

Caroline is now having to consider taking out a bank loan to pay back the debt which has been created on her credit card as she withdrew the money herself.

Courier fraud happens when a fraudster contacts victims by telephone purporting to be a police officer or bank offical Credit: Police reconstruction

This type of scam is very common. Gloucestershire Police say they get a report of this type of fraud once a week with the average person being tricked out of £8,000.

With more elderly people living alone during the pandemic they have also spotted a pattern of more people being conned.

Kim Mowbray is a harm reduction officer at Gloucestershire constabulary. He sid: "[The con] has been successful for the criminals because they can phone a hundred people and if two people that fall for this con, then they are going to make money."

He added: "If it's the police ask for a name, ask for a number, say you only deal with Gloucestershire Police or your own force then put the phone down because the longer they have you on the phone the more chance you'll have for falling foul for some of their tricks."


Action Fraud share their advice on how to protect yourself or relatives from courier fraud.

They say your bank or the police will never call you and ask you to verify personal details or ask you to take out money for an investigation.

If you get a call from someone claiming to be from either, hang up and call the police or bank on a different number, ideally on a different phone.

The longer you stay on the phone talking to the fraudsters the more convincing their story may sound. Take a couple minutes after a call to speak to a relative or trusted friend to talk about what's happened.

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