DETECTIVES investigating the theft of a Waltham Forest woman’s life savings have released CCTV images of a man wanted for questioning.
The victim, 51, received a call on her landline on February 9, from a con-artist who introduced himself as Detective Constable James Portman from the Metropolitan Police Service.
The bogus detective told the woman she had been the victim of a fraud and identity theft.
He told the woman she could verify his identity by hanging up, then dialling 999 and quoting a crime reference number. She would then be put back through to him, he claimed.
However, when the woman hung up her phone, the fake detective kept the line open. When she dialled 999, he was still waiting on the end of the line to con her.
He instructed the woman to visit a bank in Leytonstone High Street and withdraw cash, then go to a bureau de change in Walthamstow to withdraw Euros and US dollars.
When she returned home, the fake detective told the woman he was sending a courier to her address to collect the money, along with her bank cards, for evidence and take them to Hammersmith police station.
Twenty minutes after the courier took the items, the phoney detective called the victim again to confirm they had been delivered.
The following day the victim received further instructions to visit a jewellery shop on New Bond Street to buy a ’high-end watch’, then deliver it to the same courier who would meet her in Bond Street.
Three days later she was told she must withdraw everything from her bank account before it could be stolen. The fake detective told her to transfer all her savings into her flex account, then told her to go to Bond Street and buy another watch.
She was told to deliver the watch to a courier in Dover Street, Piccadilly, and did not recognise the man. Her phone died so she borrowed a stranger’s to dial 101 and quote DC Portman’s name and the crime reference number he had given her. That was when she learned the entire scenario had been a trick.
Police urged anyone who recognised the man in the CCTV images to call Operation Falcon by dialling 0207 230 8203.
Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.