Man jailed for posing as policeman to steal bank cards in Aberdeen
A man who impersonated a police officer in a "highly sophisticated" fraud to steal cash from bank customers has been jailed for eight months.
Nazeeb El-Syed, 21, from London, gained people's PIN numbers by telling them they had been victims of crime.
He then turned up at their homes in the Aberdeen, posing as a police officer, and collected their bank cards.
He appeared for sentencing at Aberdeen Sheriff Court after earlier admitting fraud and theft charges.
One of El-Syed's victims was an 81-year-old man.
Depute fiscal Marie Irvine said the first victim, Shyla Kishore, was told in a telephone call by a man claiming to be a police officer that two men had been arrested with bank cards linked to her home address.
Ms Irvine said: "Shyla Kishore was then advised by the male that he would try to go with her to her bank in order to cancel the cards.
"She was then greeted by a female voice who advised her that she was a representative of the HSBC banking group.
"Shyla Kishore was then asked to input her PIN number into her telephone touch pad in order to cancel the cards which she did.
"The victim was then passed back to the male caller who informed her that an evidence gathering officer would come to her address to take her bank cards for further analysis."
'High degree' of planning
The court heard that a short time later, an Asian male turned up at her house and took her cards away. When she contacted police the following day, she realised she had been the victim of fraud.
El-Syed had gone to a cash machine in the city and withdrawn a total of £1,000 on two occasions in July last year.
An elderly man was targeted in a similar fraud a few weeks later.
He was informed during a telephone call that he had been the victim of credit card fraud.
David Johnston handed over three of his bank cards to a man claiming to be a police officer when he turned up at his home to collect them. He also lost £1,000 in the scam.
El-Syed admitted two charges of committing fraud while acting with others people, and two charges of theft when he appeared in court in February.
Sheriff Kevin Drummond said he was imposing the maximum sentence he could for the crimes.
He said the crimes demonstrated a "high degree" of planning and sophistication.
Following the case, police warned the public not to give banking information over the phone.
Insp Lee Jardine said: "El-Syed contacted members of the public on their home telephone numbers late at night posing as a police officer in Aberdeen.
"On occasions El-Syed was successful in stealing victim's money however there were numerous other occasions where he was unsuccessful."
He added: "It is extremely important that members of the public are on their guard from callers asking for your banking details or personal information."
The sheriff ordered that a compensation order was put in place to pay back the victims of the crime.
He adjourned the case until later this month to give prosecutors time to find out where the money should be repaid in case the banks had reimbursed their customers since the crime took place.