A 70-year-old man was conned into handing over almost £50,000, including foreign currency and goods, after falling foul of a telephone and courier fraud.
The man, from Hill House Close, Turners Hill, was one of 12 people in Crawley, Turners Hill, Copthorne, Crawley Down and Horsham to be contacted by the scammers in the past week.
If you have any suspicions, please do not use the phone you have just been called on to contact the police or your bank, in case the offenders are still on the line
They told him his card had been used in London and convinced the man they were from the police and his bank.
An 85-year-old woman from Epsom Road, Furnace Green, was coerced into handing over her bank cards to a courier which were used to withdraw £600 cash and purchase over £3,000 worth of goods.
In Horsham, a 90-year-old man was contacted by telephone at his home in West Street.
The caller arranged for the man’s bank card, along with his card PIN, to be collected later that same day.
Over the following week over £1,500 was withdrawn from the account before his bank became suspicious and alerted police.
An 89-year-old woman from The Poplars in Horsham also handed over bank cards, £100 cash and jewellery to a man claiming to be a police officer.
Fraudsters claimed that they had detained her grandson after he was found in possession of her bank details and that they could safeguard her valuables while they investigated.
Eight other people contacted by the scammers were either aware of the scam or made contact with someone who alerted them to the fact it was a scam.
Sergeant Graeme Prentice said: “Under no circumstances would the police or your bank request your PIN number over the telephone or arrange collection of your bank cards from your home address. Never give out your bank details or hand over your bank cards to someone who has contacted you in this way.
“If you have any suspicions, please do not use the phone you have just been called on to contact the police or your bank, in case the offenders are still on the line.
“If possible use another phone to contact the police to report it, contact a friend or relative to alert them or wait for at least half-an-hour before trying to ring.
“If you have elderly or vulnerable friends or neighbours please make them aware of this scam as well so that they do not become a victim.
“The offenders are preying on the vulnerability of people to steal hundreds or sometimes thousands of pounds from them and we are determined to catch those responsible.”
If you know anything about the scams or those involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org quoting Operation Edisto, call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Copies of the Little book of Big scams are available on the Sussex Police website or by contacting your Local Neighbourhood Police Teams.