Thames Valley Police is urging people to remain cautious after an elaborate scam has resulted in victims losing a total of £15,000.
A man, described as being of Mediterranean appearance, in a dark coloured car, has been approaching people asking for directions to Heathrow Airport. He claims to be a fashion designer with Giorgio Armani and that he has excess stock he is unable to take back to Dubai with him due to the high cost. He asks people to lend him money to cover the cost of his car hire on the promise that the money will be paid back. He encourages the individuals to provide their bank account details and will then drive them to the bank where the money is withdrawn and handed over.
The contact details passed over to the individuals turn out to be false and no money is ever paid back.
This scam results in a significant financial loss and poses a risk to the victim’s safety by agreeing to get in a car with a stranger. Where personal details including bank details have been handed over, this also leaves the victim open to identity fraud.
Thames Valley Police are urging the following:
- Never agree to lend a stranger money, no matter how elaborate and believable their story may be.
- Never agree to purchase or accept items from a stranger – These items may be stolen and you could be implicated as being involved in handling stolen goods.
- Never reveal personal details to a stranger, especially banking details.
- Never agree to get in a stranger’s car, no matter how friendly and trustworthy they may seem.
Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud. Call 999 in an emergency.
For more information, visit the national Take Five to Stop Fraud (https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/) campaign.