A pensioner has warned others after a ‘clever wheeze’ saw more than £1,000 taken from his accounts.
Peter Buckthorp, of Hyde Drive, Ifield, was targeted by fraudsters claiming to be police officers and bank representatives in a string of phone calls over the course of an afternoon.
Now, officers have released CCTV images of two men they want to speak to in connection with the crime.
Mr Buckthorp, 72, said: “They are using people of my generation, I think, largely, because we were brought up in an era where if a policeman asked you to do something you did it. You don’t question that.”
On May 7, shortly before 1pm, Mr Buckthorp received a call from a man claiming to be an officer from Hammersmith police station.
He said two men arrested for card fraud had been found with cash, cards and address details for several people, including Mr Buckthorp. The victim was then transferred to fake officials, including a fraud specialist and ‘representatives’ from two banks, before being transferred to a ‘police officer’ at Crawley.
“He told me ‘If we get cut off, this is my name, my police number, I am at Crawley, ring the national police line and they will put you through to me.’,” said Mr Buckthorp. “As it happened, we did get cut off so I phoned the 101 number and they put me through to him.”
The fake officer arranged for the cards to be collected by taxi but when Mr Buckthorpe was called again and asked to withdraw £2,000 he became suspicious. “You always look at yourself and think was I foolish,” said Mr Buckthorp. “But I can’t think of anything that wasn’t logical until they requested cash.”
He said the most important message was to realise a telephone line could be kept open and to use a different phone when calling banks or police.
A Sussex Police spokeswoman said: “Detectives have traced the cards being taken by taxi to the Ibis Hotel in the Stratford area of London. The cards were used just five minutes later at a cash machine on Bow Road. Two men used the cards and managed to withdraw cash.”
Anyone with information can call 101 quoting 1028 of 7/5.