Brisbane Water police investigate fraud after thousands stolen from women, 91 and 93

HE is dressed like hundreds of other shoppers frequenting Newcastle’s furniture shops every weekend.

But police believe this man in a hi-vis shirt, straw hat and dark sunglasses can help them answer questions about a fraud case that has cost two women more than $40,000 over the phone.

Investigators released the images on Thursday in a bid to find a man they believe can help them solve two separate frauds against elderly women on the Central Coast. 

The most recent victim, a 91-year-old woman, spent a Sunday in February at an Erina nursing home. 

She received a phone call from a man the next morning telling her she had lost her purse, offering to return it if she could confirm some details about her identity.  

The woman provided details before Brisbane Water police began investigations, ultimately revealing that she had been defrauded of more than $29,000.

Inquiries have since revealed it is not the first time the scam has been used on an elderly woman in the Central Coast region. 

Police have since linked the case to a similar incident in late 2016 involving a 93-year-old woman.

She received a call in November from a man who identified himself as a bank manager. Similarly to the most recent case, the man claimed her wallet had been found and asked for personal details to prove it belonged to her. 

Tuggerah Lakes police discovered more than $12,000 had been taken from her account. Police have released CCTV footage from a Newcastle furniture store in a bid to help find the man, who they say can assist with their ongoing investigation. 

The man is formally described as caucasian and aged in his 40s. 

His clothes are described as fluoro orange or yellow, worn over blue work pants and tan work boots. 

It is believed he was driving a grey Toyota Kluger on the day he was filmed in the store.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Gosford police station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. 

The appeal comes days after police issued a warning about a separate phone scam. 

The Fraud and Cybercrime Squad advised people to take care after reports of unsolicited calls from a scammer urging them to download software. 

The software showed the victim was allegedly hacked. 

Fraud and Cybercrime Squad commander Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis said members of the public should be wary of any contact over the phone.

“These scammers will continue to come up with innovative ways to scam innocent victims, however, our messages continue to remain – if in doubt, report it to police,” he said.

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