Two conmen were arrested after a 92-year-old woman upset over being conned decided to play them at their own game.
The situation unfurled in the United Kingdom and began with the elderly woman being taken in with a version of the so-called “Courier Fraud.”
That con involves a conman calling a home posing as a police detective, saying they have found out that the person’s bank account was hacked.
In this case, one of the conmen convinced the victim, who is not being named, to withdraw $11,600 (£8,300) in cash “for examination,” according to the West Midlands Police.
The woman was then instructed to turn the money over to Zohaib Khalid, a 20-year-old student paid to play the role of a police courier.
The woman complied and was tricked further into buying two Rolex watches, worth around $37,000 (£26,500) each, and passing them again to Khalid.
The woman realized she was being conned when the conman called her once again the next day to ask for $19,000 (£13,700) for an alleged undercover operation.
With the help of police officers, she turned the con on the conman, and arranged for Khalid to drop by her home for the third time.
This time though, police officers were lying in wait and arrested him.
An investigation of his phone led officers to identify Mohammed Irfan Butt as the main conman. Officers arrested him.
A 92 year old woman helped lure two conmen into a police trap. Read more on this story & share our prevention tips with elderly family, friends & neighbours on how to spot the signs of courier fraud. Together we can stop this despicable crime. https://t.co/YPQSlq11zl pic.twitter.com/iDrx9hLjiY
— West Midlands Police (@WMPolice) February 19, 2018
Police said both men admitted to their guilt.
Butt was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail while Khalid was jailed for three years.
“These types of offenses are truly despicable: offenders target elderly victims and exploit their vulnerabilities to trick them into handing over money,” said Detective Constable Richard Taberner.
“Khalid was paid $700 (£500) by Butt for each trip and agreed on a collection password with the victim in a bid to give the scam more authenticity. He claimed to be merely acting as a courier and had no knowledge of the scam—but we found web searches on his phone relating to sentencing guidelines for fraud so it’s clear he suspected he was committing an offense.”
He added, “Almost $1400 (£1,000) in cash was recovered and handed back to the victim and—if she is unable to be compensated through her bank—we’ll be pushing for a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) case against the offenders to recover money on her behalf. She did brilliantly in alerting us once she realized she’d been tricked—and then played her part in luring Khalid back to her home and allowing us to catch him in the act.”
Taberner noted that police officers or genuine bank officials would never ask you to divulge PIN numbers over the phone or send couriers to collect cards or cash.
Anyone who believes they’ve been targeted by conmen is urged to call the police.