Warning after con men posing as gardaí target rural elderly

Elderly people living in isolated areas of Co Cork are being duped into handing over money by con men with fake garda ID.

In one case, a victim lost what may have been her entire life-savings.

A senior garda said yesterday that thieves had robbed four pensioners in North and East Cork in the past fortnight.

On Aug 23, a man in his 40s, purporting to be a garda, called to the house of an elderly woman at Ballywilliam, Cobh.

“The man said he was checking on counterfeit money which had been passed out to people through the post office.

“The woman told us she handed over what money she had — which was potentially her life savings. The man said he’d check the money and then left with it,” the senior garda said.

In this case, the culprit was described as being around 5ft 10ins-5ft 11ins and of average build.

The same modus operandi was used in Mallow on Aug 16, but by two men with fake garda IDs. They went to an isolated farm and showed fake documentation to an elderly man and his sister.

“They also said they were investigating a scam whereby fake notes were being distributed from a post office.

“They took a small sum of money from the pair and left,” the garda spokesman said.

One of the men was described as small with glasses and the other was said to be tall and thin.

On Aug 22, a different modus operandi was used to extract money from a pensioner living in Castlelyons.

“This time the culprit said he was an off-duty garda and had found a sum of money lying on the side of the road. He showed the elderly man a fake garda badge and when the man went to check his wallet, the culprit robbed him of some cash and left the scene,” the spokesman said.

The suspect was described as being of strong build and wearing black glasses.

Gardaí believe it may be the work of one gang operating in the region.

“Unless somebody personally knows they are dealing with a real garda, they should never hand over money. People should always ring their local garda station to check if a member of the force has been asked to call to them. These are particularly nasty crimes perpetrated against elderly people and we want to catch these men.”

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