Crackdown bid to hound out the money scammers

PUBLISHED: 12:21 03 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:59 25 August 2010

Pensioners and vulnerable residents in the borough are being targeted by a campaign to warn of the dangers of money scams.

Pensioners and vulnerable residents in the borough are being targeted by a campaign to warn of the dangers of money scams.

Police officers from the Met's Operation Sterling joined forces with Bexley's Safer Neighbourhood teams on Tuesday to warn residents against fraudsters.

A campaign has been launched informing residents that people claiming to be clairvoyants and fortune tellers were a well known method of duping people out of cash, and to never send money to a stranger - either in the post, or by bank transfer.

John Flunder, 80, editor of Bexley Pensioners Forum magazine said: "I am responsible for making sure pensioners in Bexley are made aware of issues that could affect them.

"Cons and scams such as mass marketing fraud can cause serious financial and psychological damage to people of my age.

"The nature of these frauds is really quite sad and people get taken in because the scammers can be so persuasive and persistent and our generation tend to be quite trusting."

International crime gangs are using increasingly inventive ways to try and part the UK public with their money. From romance frauds and fake lotteries to share frauds and inheritance scams, mass marketing fraud is serious, organised crime which can affect anyone and is estimated to cost individuals in the UK over £3.5billion a year.

Detective Chief Inspector Nick Downing said: "This crime causes misery to victims and their families in the UK and law enforcement agencies take it seriously. Our advice is to never take anything at face value - these fraudsters make a living out of deceiving people and they will stop at nothing.

"By working with those who are targeted and educating them on the types of scams to look out for, we will be one step closer to making mass marketing fraud a thing of the past."

If you suspect you are a victim of mass marketing fraud call the Action Fraud helpline on 0300 123 2040.

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