An undercover police operation led to the conviction of London-based phone scammers who duped elderly victims into handing over their bank cards before draining their accounts.

The three-month operation began after officers received a report from an elderly man from Hampstead.

They soon linked the crime to other reports across London and began work to track down those responsible.

Eyewitness accounts, CCTV, phone monitoring and undercover surveillance were some of the tactics used by police to catch the scammers.

Arbaaz Khan was the ringleader of the group that scammed nine pensioners with an average age of 87.

The victims were persuaded to urgently hand over their bank cards.

Khan would send one of his associates to collect it. The scammers would then drain the accounts.

The nine offences occurred between November 1, 2021, and February 16, 2022. In total, they stole £11,940.

When officers arrested Khan on February 16, he tried to discard a phone.

Police bodycam footage showed Khan appearing to be baffled at his arrest, repeatedly asking officers:

“For fraud?”

It was discovered that Khan had used the discarded phone that morning to direct one of his associates to the home of a 101-year-old woman.

One victim said: “I felt really low after this happened. I made the mistake and now I will have to pay for it.

“This money was my savings. I would encourage anyone who is the victim of a crime like this to contact the police and help prevent this happening.”

Khan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal. He is due to be sentenced on May 8, 2024.

Bradley Goode and Hanad Mohamed also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal.

Mohamed will be sentenced on the same day as Khan while Goode received a community order of 120 hours unpaid work and was ordered to undergo rehabilitation.

Scammers who Preyed on Elderly caught in Undercover Operation

Abi Wood, CEO of Age UK London, said: “This is a terrible case of scamming older people who are so often targeted for this type of crime.

“In this case, the work of the Met police officers has been vital to prevent any more people becoming victims and we are pleased to see that the criminals were caught.

“Our advice to older people is to say no.

“Never disclose your bank details either over the phone or to someone in person who asks for it and never hand over your bank cards.

“If you are unsure check with your bank or someone you know before doing anything.”

“For doorstep scams, keep all doors locked when answering the door as people can work together, use a chain on the door, especially if you are not expecting anyone, ask for ID and ask them to wait while you check with their organisation.

“A genuine person would not mind you doing this. If you feel unsafe or pressured contact family, a friend, or the police.”