Two men from London jailed after targeting St Albans woman in phone scam

Two men from Hackney were jailed

Two men from Hackney were jailed - Credit: Archant

The swift action of a 96-year-old St Albans woman left suspicious after being targeted by two conmen has resulted in the men being jailed for their part in a phone scam.

Olukayode Teriba, 20, from Bouverie Road, Hackney, and Eraste Muaka, 18, from Danesdale Road, also in Hackney, have been sent to prison for fraud by false representation after they both appeared at St Albans Crown Court last Friday (4).

Teriba was jailed for 30 months and Muaka received a 10-month sentence which will be served consecutively alongside a sentence he received from Cambridge for burglary.

The elderly victim, of Villiers Crescent, was targeted in October last year.

She was telephoned by two people claiming to be investigating fraudulent activity on her bank account.

The woman was persuaded to put her bank card and PIN number into an envelope and a courier was arranged to collect it later.

But she alerted her neighbour and a relative about the call and they contacted the Herts Police.

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When Teriba went to the victim’s address to collect the package, he was met by plain-clothed police officers.

After Muaka was arrested nearby, the teenager was linked to the scam as he had the victim’s phone number on his mobile phone.

At the Crown Court, the crime was described as “cold-blooded”.

Judge John Plumstead praised the police for “excelling themselves” in sending plain-clothed officers to the house to prevent the fraud.

After the fraudsters were sentenced, Det Insp Jason Keane said: “These two men targeted a very vulnerable woman and the court is correct in its description of this type of crime as ‘cold-blooded’.

“We will continue to find those who are involved with phone scams and courier fraud and bring them to justice.”

He said while the police were looking to make more arrests, people needed to be aware of these types of scams.

Det Insp Keane advised residents to remember that police and banks would never ask for their PIN number over the phone, ask you to send bank cards or withdraw money and send it to them, for example by courier.

He said: “If you receive a call you aren’t expecting, you should be suspicious. If you are not happy with what is being said in the conversation you should end the call and if you do suspect the call was part of a scam please call police via the non-emergency number 101.

“Remember to use a mobile phone or wait at least five minutes before calling to ensure you aren’t reconnected to the caller. A legitimate caller won’t mind you verifying their identity by contacting the police.”

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