Counter terror detectives today arrested seven people in an operation targeting fraudsters who pose as police officers to “cold call” the elderly and vulnerable.
The six men and one woman were held as part of a major ongoing investigation into suspected fund raising for terror groups including Islamic State.
Officers carried out dawn raids at six addresses in London and one address in Luton.
At one address officers also arrested a 46-year-old woman in connection with an unrelated investigation into a 15-year-old school girl from Bethnal Green who is suspected of travelling to join Islamic State militants in Syria in December.
The woman, arrested at an address in north London, was held on suspicion of child abduction because of the girl’s age. She was later bailed.
In February three teenagers from the same school, Bethnal Green Academy, Kadiza Sultana, 16, Shamima Begum, 15, and Amira Abase, 15, left their homes in east London and travelled to Syria.
Five men, aged between 21 and 28, and a 32-year-old woman were arrested in north London in connection with the cold calling inquiry. A 38-year-old man was held in Luton.
Scotland Yard said all had been arrested for conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering – except for the woman who was arrested for money laundering only.
In a statement the Yard said : “Officers are investigating a large scale fraud linked to UK extremists travelling to Syria. The arrests today form part of an ongoing fraud investigation, whereby unsuspecting vulnerable and elderly victims are ‘cold called’ on their home phone by a suspect impersonating a police officer.
“Members of the public are strongly advised, if you receive a call like this about your bank account from someone claiming to be a police officer, hang up the phone, wait at least five minutes to make sure the phone line has cleared, or use another phone line, before ringing the phone number on your bank card.
“Remember – your bank or the police will never ask for your pin, your bank card or to withdraw money.”
Police were searching all seven addresses today.
Those arrested were being interviewed at a police station in south London.