POLICE are reminding residents, especially the elderly and anyone living alone, not to fall foul of cheats posing as police officers or bank staff asking for bank and card details.
It follows a recent rise in phone scams across the country.
The fraudsters call the intended victim claiming to be from either the police or a bank. They tell them that their card details have been fraudulently used and that they need to act urgently to protect themselves.
They then suggest that they hang up and ring the bank or police back to ensure that the call is genuine.
Do not be fooled – they stay on the line and pretend to be the police or the bank. They then tell the intended victim to key in or read out their PIN number.
They will then send a taxi or courier, who may know nothing about the crime, to collect the bank card. With this and the PIN they will then have full access to spend your money.
‘Don’t be fooled’
Detective Inspector Mick Richards said: “Under no circumstances would the police or your bank request your PIN number over the telephone or arrange collection of your bank cards from your home address in this manner.
“Never give out your bank details to someone who has contacted you on your home phone unsolicited.
“If you have any suspicions please do not use the phone you have just been called on to contact the police or your bank.
“If you are asked to call back to confirm their identity, ensure you don’t do so for at least 20 seconds to ensure the phone line hasn’t been kept open, and if possible use another phone to contact the police to report it, or to contact a friend to relative to alert them.
Some variations in the scam include;
n Asking the victim to assist in a police investigation. The victim is requested to withdraw a large sum of cash and take it home, where it is then collected by a courier;
n Telling the victim that there is a corrupt member of staff within the bank and asking for help in identifying them. The victim is told to withdraw a large sum of money which will be ‘marked’, with the purpose of it being placed back into the banking system. A taxi driver is sent round to collect the cash.
n Introducing themselves as police officers and saying that they have detained two men who were trying to buy a Rolex watch and had in their possession various cloned credit/debit cards, some in the name of the intended victim. They say they need to confirm bank details for investigation purposes.
Spread the message
DI Richards added: “I urge anyone reading or hearing this message to pass it on to any friends and relatives who may not be aware of this particular type of targeted fraud, to prevent any vulnerable friends or family members from becoming victims.
In Sussex there have 356 such incidents in the past nine months but in only 37 cases was money handed over, with a total loss of more than £215,200.
Beating the cheats
However, people across the county are heading the advice, with police reporting a fall in the fraudsters’ success rates and a rise in reporting.
For example, during April, there were 65 incidents recorded in the county with only five of those being successful.
However, In May, there were 59 reports with only one resulting in a loss of money.
DI Richards is continuing to urge people to resist these scams.
He is encouraging anyone with any information about them to contact police on 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Operation Edisto. Alternatively the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
For advice on fraud prevention, click here.
Further tips on beating the cheats can be seen here.