Retired shopkeeper loses £25,000 in Rolex watch scam

Retired shopkeeper loses £25,000 in Rolex watch scam

Watch it: Vulnerable pensioners are being tricked into buying expensive jewellery and handing it over to criminals

Vulnerable pensioners are being tricked into buying expensive jewellery and handing it over to criminals posing as policemen in a terrifying new scam.

In one case seen by Money Mail, a 79-year-old man lost more than £50,000 after fraudsters fooled him into buying two Rolex watches, which they then collected from his home in Lincolnshire.

The criminals had convinced the man he was helping with a police investigation into counterfeit jewellery, and had promised him the money would be reimbursed. 

The victim’s bank, Santander, initially refused to cover his losses because he had authorised the payments — but refunded £25,000 after Money Mail intervened.

The Rolex scam is the latest version of a ruse known as ‘courier fraud’. Con artists typically pose as a bank or the police to convince victims their account has been compromised. 

The bank customer is told that in order to safeguard their money, they must withdraw a large amount of cash and give this to a courier who will be sent to their home.

Sometimes they are told to give their bank card and PIN to the courier instead. There were 911 reports of courier fraud between October 2015 and September 2017, according to figures from the City of London Police.

But experts warn the true number of victims could be even higher as many people are too embarrassed to come forward. 

The majority of incidents involved victims handing over cash and bank cards. But police say they are now hearing from people who have been tricked into buying expensive jewellery and watches.

Henry Peters, a retired Post Office and shop owner from Lincolnshire, lost most of his life savings after being called out of the blue in March by a trickster claiming to be from Scotland Yard.

The caller told him someone had tried to use his Santander bank card to buy a £500 laptop in London, but that the bank had blocked the transaction after suspecting it was fraudulent.

After Henry confirmed he had not made the purchase, the caller said he was now going to transfer him to someone in the fraud squad, as they needed his help with an investigation.

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