Warning over phone scam as householder is conned out of £36,000

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Police have warned people in the Crawley area to be aware of a telephone scam relating to payment protection insurance (PPI) after one person was conned out of £36,000.

Sussex Police said the scammers – who claimed to be calling from the Ministry of Justice – seemed to be targeting the elderly.

Victims were told they were entitled to a PPI refund and that, in order to process their claim, they needed to pay a percentage of the payout up front in the form of UKASH vouchers.

A courier was then sent to the victims’ homes to collect the vouchers or access the code for the vouchers in order to claim the money.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said £240 had been stolen in this way from a resident in Bognor on May 20, and £36,000 from a resident in Littlehampton in April.

An attempt to carry out the same scam on a resident in Midhurst failed when the person became suspicious.

Referring to the scam as “wicked”, Detective Inspector Jim McKnight urged anyone who had received such a call, or knew anyone who had, to contact police.

He said: “These are wicked crimes that target some of our most vulnerable people.

“The impact on the victims is not only a financial one but can also have detrimental effect on confidence and physical well being.

“The contact between the victim and the criminal can be a one off or can be very regular covering days and weeks.

“Please be aware of any signs of this or similar activity taking place – bring it to a halt and contact the police who will investigate the matter whilst providing advice, and assistance.

“You can always contact us on 101 or email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk - but if the call or visit is current, dial 999.”

Further advice on avoiding involvement in this or other types of fraud can be found via the {http://tinyurl.com/m2zjpbh |Sussex Police website|Sussex Police}.