Con artist sentenced as part of police crackdown on Herts phone scams

Elderly and vulnerable people are targeted by the phone scam.
Elderly and vulnerable people are targeted by the phone scam.

A man has been sentenced for his involvement in a county-wide phone scam as part of a police crackdown on the cruel cons.

Salek Miah of Tower Hamlets, London, was handed an eight month prison sentence suspended for two years after targeting an elderly Bushey woman for thousands of pounds under the fraudulent scheme, which sees tricksters impersonating police officers and bank officials over the phone.

Miah, 39, was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service and pay £250 in compensation to the victim, aged in her 80s, when he appeared before St Albans Crown Court last week.

Herts officers investigating the scam – which saw 104 reports flood in from across Herts in March alone – arrested the fraudster after the victim raised the alarm when asked to hand over a large sum of money to a courier.

The scam, which mainly targets the elderly and vulnerable, has claimed a series of victims from Dacorum though, thankfully, no cash or bank cards were stolen in these cases.

Miah, of Wager Street, told the court he had been recruited by others to collect the package and take it to London where he would be paid.

Det Insp Jason Keane from the dedicated Herts task force tackling the crimes said: “I hope this sends a clear message to anyone who considers becoming involved in any way with phone scams. The victims of this crime are often elderly and vulnerable and rightly this was taken into consideration by the court.

“The victim in this instance was incredibly brave and I’d like to thank her for the actions she took to assist us in catching Miah. Victims of this crime should be assured that we will help them and our approach to those involved with this type of crime will not waiver.

“We are continuing to make arrests. However, people still need to remain alert to this scam.”

Police are urging anyone who receives a suspicious call to dial the non-emergency number 101 using a mobile phone, or to wait until you hear the dialling tone before calling from a landline as the other caller may not have cleared the line.

The force is also reminding people that police officers and banks would never ask anyone to reveal bank account details or pin numbers, withdraw cash or hand over any possessions to a courier.

Click here to read about duped victims from the county who have spoken out about their ordeal.