Man charged with impersonating PC to target pensioners in £500 Covid fine scam

3 February 2021, 14:09

Police say the women were asked by a fraudster for £500, as a fine for breaching Covid rules. (File photo)
Police say the women were asked by a fraudster for £500, as a fine for breaching Covid rules. (File photo). Picture: Getty

By Joe Cook

A man has been charged after he allegedly impersonated a police officer in an attempt to swindle £500 out of two pensioners for breaching Covid rules.

The Metropolitan Police say the elderly women were approached in the street near the Stratford Centre in east London by a man claiming to be a police officer.

The man allegedly told the women they had breached Covid regulations and escorted them to a cash point, where he asked for £500 as a fine for breaching the regulations.

Fortunately, real officers were observing the incident and have arrested an individual, who has since been charged with blackmail and impersonating a police officer.

Read more: 'Fraudsters are using Covid as an excuse for their criminality', City Police Commissioner warns

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Detective Inspector Vince Fedder, from the Met's North East Criminal Investigation Unit, said: “Thankfully officers were on scene and quickly dealt with this incident.

"However, the public need to be aware that some people may well see the current emergency as an opportunity to exploit others."

He added: “I appreciate that these are frightening and lonely times for many people and we want to be careful not to cause further distress or worry.

"However, a general conversation on how to spot a bogus officer may stop someone falling victim to these scams."

Police say if an officer is not in uniform they will "identify themselves clearly by showing you their warrant card", which will include "a hologram and the signature of the Commissioner - not the holder".

Read more: ‘We’ve been bored’ student partygoers tell police before being fined a total of £17k

Read more: National clap for Captain Sir Tom Moore at 6pm, Boris Johnson says

'Fraudsters are using Covid as an excuse for their criminality,'

The warning is the latest from police after fraudsters have attempted to use the coronavirus pandemic to their advantage.

In January, the public were warned to be alert to fraudsters trying to trick people into giving their details away with fake coronavirus vaccine scams.

Derbyshire Constabulary also alerted people to a fake text offering a link to an "extremely convincing" false NHS website where people are asked to input their bank details to register for a vaccine.

Read more: Covidiot films himself abusing Professor Chris Whitty in the street and calls him 'liar'

Read more: Don't go shopping in variant-risk areas if you don't have to, Hancock tells LBC

Derbyshire Police issued a statement: "The scam message reads 'we have identified that your are eligible to apply for your vaccine' and then prompts you to click on a link for further information or to 'apply' for the vaccine."

"If you receive a text or email that asks you to click on a link or for you to provide information, such as your name, credit card or bank details, it's a scam."

Police launched an investigation after a 92-year-old woman was given a fake coronavirus vaccine, before being charged £160.

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