Police on Tuesday are investigating a new case of fraud by scammers pretending to be doctors. The case involves a 76-year-old woman in Nicosia, who lost €8,500 to the scammers. The new incident comes on the heels of an almost identical earlier incident on Sunday where a 79-year-old woman was scammed out of €9,000.
According to police, an unknown person called the 76-year-old on Monday morning, introducing herself as a doctor and told her that a relative of hers had been beaten and urgently needed to be transported to the UK for an operation, for which purpose the amount of €80,000 should be paid immediately.
The 76-year-old believed the story, however, she told the suspect that she could not afford that much, whereupon the suspect first asked for €40,000 and then €20,000. The alleged ‘doctor’ then asked for her address to arrange a pick up in cash. A few hours later, an unknown man visited the victim and made off with €8,500.
At the urging of the stranger, the woman went to a bank to withdraw an additional €20,000, but upon hearing the story, the branch manager warned her that this was a fraud.
Police spokesman Christos Andreou speaking on CyBC radio on Tuesday, urged the public to be aware of the ‘doctor scam’ phenomenon targeting elderly persons in particular.
A spate of such incidents is underfoot, Andreou said, and police are currently investigating another incident while two additional attempts were foiled.
A particular method of operating of these scammers is to keep the victim on the line, preventing them from calling their loved one to confirm the veracity of the story.
Police are continuing investigations and are meanwhile urging any member of the public receiving a similar call to report the incident immediately to their nearest police station or the citizen’s contact line, at 1460.