Published: 16:37, 11 February 2020
| Updated: 16:57, 11 February 2020
A relentless fraudster conned pensioners out of £630,000 by tricking them into transferring money into a so-called 'safe account'.
Mohammed Rafiq, 34, was eventually caught after detectives were alerted to a Canterbury scam targeted at raking in £12,100 from an elderly woman.
During a nine-month period from October 2018 to June last year, Rafiq defrauded 33 victims across the country of £630,000.
Seven of his unlucky targets were from Kent.
The Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate latched onto Rafiq's crimes after a Canterbury pensioner received a telephone call from someone claiming to be a fraud investigator.
She was instructed to transfer £6,500 into a ‘safe account’ because her own account had been compromised by criminals.
She was told not to tell anyone at the bank why she was transferring the money, and after returning home she received a second call asking her to send a further £5,600.
"Their crimes demonstrate a shocking lack of empathy..."
A brazen associate of Rafiq had used his mobile phone to book a taxi to the bank for the victim, and officers were able to trace the number.
They arrived at an address in Glasgow and arrested Rafiq and a 37-year-old accomplice.
They were both charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation. After originally denying any wrongdoing, they entered guilty pleas at the start of their trial.
Rafiq, of Grantholm Avenue, Motherwell was jailed for three-and-a-half years at Maidstone Crown Court.
Investigating officer detective constable Mark Newman said: "Rafiq and his accomplices were relentless in their efforts to trick as many victims as possible into handing over the contents of their bank accounts.
"Their crimes demonstrate a shocking lack of empathy for a large number of elderly and vulnerable people who in some cases lost their life savings. The effect these offences had on them and their families cannot be understated.
"We are always keen to remind people that the police or your bank will never ask you to draw out money or send a courier to your home to collect any cash.
"If you ever receive a telephone call fitting this description, please clear the line immediately without providing any information."