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Police hunt bank cards conwoman
POLICE are searching for a woman who conned elderly women from York and North Yorkshire in to handing over their bank cards.
West Midlands police have released a photograph, taken from CCTV footage of the fraudster attempting to use the card of a 78-year-old Harrogate woman to buy euros in a travel agents’ shop in Solihull.
Although she failed to buy euros with the card, a total of about £6,600 has been taken from the victim’s account.
She successfully managed to use the victim’s card in a jeweller’s store and to withdraw cash from a Coventry bank.
The woman, described as white, about 5ft 2in, of medium build with pale skin and dark brown shoulder-length hair, targeted elderly women in the York and Harrogate areas.
The fraud is just one in a number of cases being investigated by North Yorkshire Police.
Elderly residents in the York and Harrogate areas were targeted in late June and early July when they were tricked in to handing over their bank cards and PIN numbers to people claiming to be from their bank or a utility company. The conmen called victims first before offering to send someone to their house to pick up their bank card.
They told victims that they had an unpaid bill or that fraud had occurred on their account.
The fraudsters have already stolen thousands of pounds after withdrawing money from banks and travel agents using the stolen cards.
Detective Sergeant Lydia Davenport, of Harrogate CID, said: “These people are very plausible and charming when they contact the elderly people and it is easy to see how they can be convinced by what they are saying.
‘‘In reality, they are preying on elderly people’s vulnerability and trusting nature. We are determined to catch them and bring them to justice.
‘‘I am therefore asking for the public’s help to identify them as we continue our investigations.”
Anyone who recognises the woman in the picture, or has any information about the scams, should phone Harrogate CID on 01423 539081.
Information can also be given anonymously by phoning Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
The public is advised to never, under any circumstances, give bank account passwords or PIN numbers to anyone. They should never hand over their bank card to anyone other than a bank employee inside banking premises.