Warning as more residents lose money to scam police calls
Written by Mickey Gocool on 02/02/2021
Hertfordshire residents have lost more than £80,000 during January to fraudsters posing as police officers.
Nineteen residents have been targeted since the start of the year, with most of the victims being aged over 65. Six of the offences have happened in the Welwyn/Hatfield area, but the fraudsters have been targeting victims all over the county.
The victims were contacted by callers posing as police officers, from either a landline or a mobile number, informing the intended victim that there has been fraudulent activity on their bank account. The bogus police officer then asks them to withdraw cash, or in some cases to buy expensive items, to hand over to a courier that is despatched to their address by the fraudster.
The offenders may also ask people to assist in the investigation by disclosing their bank details, including their account and PIN numbers.
Detective Inspector Rob Burns, from the Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, said: “We have seen more people being targeted by this type of scam over the past month with some victims losing a lot of money.
“The fraudsters use different stories to convince people they are genuine, the important thing to remember is that police officers or bank staff would never ask for people’s bank details, like a PIN, or for cash to be handed over. You should never give your bank details to anyone. Usually the intended victim realises the call is not genuine and refuses to part with their details or cash. However, these fraudsters can be very persuasive and insistent, which has resulted in some people falling victim to this scam and subsequently losing thousands of pounds from their accounts.”
If you receive a call you’re not expecting, you should be suspicious. The vital things to remember are that your bank and the police would:
- NEVER ask for your bank account details or PIN number over the phone, so do not disclose these to anyone, no matter who they claim to be.
- NEVER ask you to withdraw money and send it to them via a courier, taxi or by any other means.
- NEVER ask you to send your bank cards, or any other personal property, to them via courier, taxi or by any other means.
If you are not happy with a phone call and are suspicious of the conversation you have with the caller then please end the call and dial 101 or report online herts.police.uk/Report/Report
Remember, when reporting a suspicious phone call to police, wait at least five minutes before attempting to make the call to ensure you’re not reconnected to the offender.
Alternatively, use a mobile phone or test your landline by phoning a friend or relative first, to ensure you aren’t still unwittingly connected to the offender.
If you have concerns about your bank account, visit your local branch.
How to protect yourself
Remember to follow the above advice. In addition to this, some phone companies offer call screening services that can be effective in blocking marketing cold calls and bogus callers. Contact your phone company and ask about call screening and caller display services.
How can you help?
- Please share this information with your older relatives and friends: this crime has a devastating effect on people and we need to raise awareness to prevent further people becoming victims.
- Report any calls you believe are suspicious as we may be able to trace where the calls are originating from. Please remember, to wait at least five minutes before calling police or use a mobile or neighbour’s phone.
- Report suspicious activity at cash points. If you see someone spending a long time at a cashpoint, using a number of different cards and have a hood up or their faces covered, contact police immediately. Often offenders will use cashpoints in the early hours.
For more information on scams visit our Scam police and bank callers page: www.herts.police.uk/phonescams where you can also watch a video provided by Action Fraud and entitled, “The Devil’s in Your Details”.