A twenty-one year old man has been sentenced at St Albans Crown Court yesterday (December 2) after he scammed a retired couple over the phone.
Conrad Mukama from Fontwell Close in Northolt pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud between March and May 2013 (correct) and received an immediate six month custodial sentence.
On the evening of May 26 2013, a retired couple were contacted by someone claiming to be a police officer investigating fraudulent use of their bank cards. They were told that arrests had been made and that their bank cards were needed as part of the investigation.
The victims placed their bank cards in an envelope and they were collected by a courier. The following day they realised the call was a scam after the cards were used by the fraudsters to withdraw hundreds of pounds.
Later in the same week, the couple were again contacted by a fraudster but, being aware of the scam, they kept the caller on the line whilst they contacted Hertfordshire Constabulary who were then able to send officers to the address and make a recording of the caller.
Although on this occasion a courier didnâ€™t attend the address, officers were able to carry out extensive work around the telephone number used in the scam. This led to a warrant being executed at Mukamaâ€™s address in London where the telephone that had been used in the scam was recovered. Further analytical work linked Mukama to the Radlett offence and two other offences in London.
Detective Constable Darren Machin from Borehamwoodâ€™s Local Crime Unit led the investigation into Mukama and said: â€œIt has taken some time to get this case to court due to complex nature of our investigation and we are happy the court has taken the serious nature of this offence into consideration. This has been reflected in the sentence, which is significant considering this was Mukamaâ€™s first offence.
â€œThis was a despicable crime as Mukama preyed on the trusting nature of his victims and I hope this sends a clear message to anyone involved in phone scams that we will find you and ensure you are brought to court.
â€œI would also like to use this case to highlight the fact that phone scams are still operating in the area and people should be aware that the police and banks would never ask you to send your banks cards or money to them in any circumstances.â€
DC Machin added: â€œI would urge people to share the following advice with their relatives and friends as these fraudsters are convincing and people of all ages and professions have been caught out.â€
Hertfordshire Constabularyâ€™s advice on answering an unexpected call remains unchanged:
If you receive a call youâ€™re not expecting, you should be suspicious. The vital things to remember are that your bank and the police would:
If you are not happy with a phone call and are suspicious of the conversation you have with the caller then please end the call and contact police via the non-emergency number, 101. Remember, when reporting a suspicious phone call to police, wait at least five minutes before attempting to make the call or use a mobile or neighbourâ€™s phone to ensure youâ€™re not reconnected to the offender.
For further information about phone scams and how to avoid becoming a victim, please visit www.herts.police.uk/PhoneScams