Detectives arrest man after elderly residents in Northumberland villages report being scammed out of cash and valuables in HMRC con

A man has been charged with fraud and money laundering offences after elderly residents in Northumberland were allegedly coerced into sending large sums by a scammer who posed as HM Revenue and Customs.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 7:18 pm

Last November, specialist officers travelled to London as part of a large-scale investigation launched after a handful of older residents in Bedlington and Seghill reported they had been targeted by fraudsters claiming to work for the Government department.

They all reported being pressured into handing over valuables and cash.

Inquiries led the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) to London and Middlesex, where suspects were arrested and interviewed on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering, in an operation assisted by the Metropolitan and City of London Police.

A man has been charged following an inquiry launched after elderly Northumberland residents reported being tricked out of cash and valuables in a con where fraudsters claimed they were working for HM Revenue and Customs.

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Attempts to locate a further man believed to have been involved have been ongoing since.

Now the unit has confirmed a 31-year-old arrested following searches in Glasgow yesterday, Thursday, May 20, has since been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering.

Detective Constable Andy Smith from NERSOU’s specialist Bombay Team, which investigates offences of this nature, has called on the public to remain vigilant and challenge suspected scammers.

He said: “Scams like this have such a detrimental impact on their victims, who are often left with nothing when they hand over their savings.

"Being coerced and manipulated can also shatter the trust they have in others and ruin their faith in organisations like the police, HMRC and the banks.

“We would urge everyone to ignore any approaches made by cold-callers on the telephone or through unsolicited letters.

"If someone knocks on your door, challenge them, ask for ID but never hand anything over.

"Remember it is only scammers who will get frustrated at you for asking questions and checking them out.

“We would also ask families with elderly relatives to make sure they haven’t been contacted.

"Remember, no reputable company will ever ask you to send them cash or valuables in the post and we would encourage anyone who thinks they might have been targeted in this way to contact police immediately.

Suspicious behaviour can be reported via Northumbria Police’s Tell Us Something page online.

Anyone who thinks they have been a victim of fraud can call 101 or report it to ActionFraud on 0300 123 2040.

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