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Harlow residents warned over “bogus police woman” telephone scam

Crime / Thu 3rd Apr 2014 at 11:26am

A WOMAN posing as an Essex police officer is the latest fraudster to attempt to steal money or credit cards in a complex telephone scam being carried out across the county.

The woman, who calls herself Jennifer Clark, or Jennifer Lark, has tried at least 12 times in the past few weeks to steal from elderly or vulnerable people.

She made four calls today, Wednesday April 2, with two calls to people in South Ockendon and others at Stanford-le-Hope and Leigh.

Fortunately, all 12 intended victims realised that the caller was a fraudster, ended the call and contacted genuine officers from Essex Police.

DS Neil Hudson said: “This woman is linked to attempted frauds across Uttlesford and the south of the county.

“She always claims to be an officer from the local police station and says she is investigating burglaries in the area. She tells her intended victims that her bank cards have been found as a result of enquiries into the burglaries, then asks the victims to let police have bank or credit cards or large sums of cash for forensic examination.

“A courier is then sent to pick up the cards and cash but they are never returned.

“A woman claiming to be a local officer investigating burglaries is a new form of the telephone fraud and we urgently need to warn people to be on their guard.”

The telephone fraudsters, who have mainly been men, made 140 calls to Essex residents during March but the majority were fortunately unsuccessful.

A total of 750 similar thefts and attempted thefts have been reported in Essex since the scam first came to light in January 2013, and similar crimes have been reported in the Met Police area and other counties.

More than 100 people in Essex have been tricked out of money and the total stolen is more than £355,000. Six people have been arrested in connection with the investigation.

REMEMBER

• Police or bank officials would never call you by telephone you and ask for your full bank details or ask you to withdraw large sums of cash.

• If you think you have been a victim, call police FROM A DIFFERENT NUMBER.

• If you don’t have another phone, use a neighbour’s, or wait five minutes before dialling 101 or 999 (if urgent).

Please contact any elderly relatives and friends to warn them of this scam.

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