Police in Suffolk are warning elderly homeowners to be vigilant after five people have been scammed out of almost £30,000.
The scam, carried out by con men and women, has now hit Suffolk after sweeping across the Metropolitan and Essex Police Force areas.
Since August, Suffolk Police has received five reports of almost identical scams where elderly victims have been called by people pretending to be police officers from The Met or Essex Police.
The fake officers called victims telling them they were investigating fraud on their bank account. On occasions they claimed to be working for the victim’s bank and asked for account information including their card number, security number and PIN. If residents were suspicious, the offenders suggested they call 999 or 101 to ask for confirmation that the caller was a police officer.
When victims then called the police, not realising that the offenders had not hung up, the call would go straight through to the offenders again.
Police said in some cases a female offender would then pretend to be working for the police control room before verifying the fake officer’s details.
Callers were then handed back to the original offender who obtained the victims’ details.
In other cases victims were told a courier would be sent round to collect their bank card, or even asked to go to their bank to withdraw large amounts of money which was again collected by courier.
Community Safety Manager for Suffolk Police, Alan Osborne, said: “Fraudsters will try every way possible to scam money out of people and this appears to be one of the latest con tactics they are using.
“The police or banks will never ask for people’s bank account details over the phone and should anyone receive this type of call they should hang up immediately.
“We are working with banks, building societies and taxi or courier companies to raise awareness of this particular scam but we are keen to stress to those people who have elderly family members or neighbours to spread the word and talk to them about this type of crime.”
Police have issued the following advice:
• Your bank or the police will never ask for your PIN, bank card or bank account details over the phone – never give these details out.
• The police will never call you and ask you to withdraw money from your account to give to a courier or taxi driver, regardless of how convincing they may seem.
• If you receive such a call leave the landline for at least five minutes to make an outside call. Fraudsters will keep the line open and have been known to play ring tones, hold music and a recorded message down the phone so the victim believes they are making a call to a legitimate number.
• Use a friend’s or neighbour’s telephone instead.
• Friends, family, carers and neighbours are asked to spread the word to ensure everyone is aware of this scam and what they should do.
Call police on 101, or 999 if you are vulnerable and need police assistance, and remember allow your landline to clear for at least five minutes before you call, or ideally use an alternative line.