2:48pm Monday 4th June 2012
By Ben Parsons
Fraudsters duped a pensioner out of hundreds of pounds by offering to give her an extra winter fuel payment.
The crooks targeted Patricia Watson by saying she was entitled to an extra £127 because of sustained cold weather earlier this year.
When she told them her card details they took £500 cash out of her account.
Police are warning people never to give personal information to cold callers and not to respond to emails supposedly from banks which ask for bank details or other information.
They are also warning people who have already been victims of fraud to beware of people contacting them claiming they can help get the money back.
Mrs Watson, 67, of Brighton, was called on Monday, May 21, but only reported the crime last week.
They used the money to pay for items including two gas bills and a rented car.
She told The Argus: “I don’t want any other vulnerable person, especially a pensioner, to become a victim.
“You hear of these things happening, but you think you’re too sensible.”
Jim Baker, former director of Age UK Brighton and Hove, said: “Pensioners are the most vulnerable group when it comes to technology.
“There is no measure of how big this problem is because people feel foolish and don’t come forward.
“It is a terrible offence and makes older people feel insecure about everything.”
A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said: “Sussex Police are investigating a report of a telephone fraud in which a man contacted an elderly woman by phone and said she was due money in relation to cold weather payments.
“The victim gave the caller the bank details he requested and the account was then used to pay for goods and services.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Sussex Police on 101.
For more information about crime in your area go to theargus.co.uk/localinfo
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