Warning to Hemel Hempstead residents after series of phone scams

Hertfordshire Police is warning residents to stay vigilant following reports of scam phone calls to homes in the county.

Thursday, 18th June 2020, 11:57 am
Updated Thursday, 18th June 2020, 11:58 am

Five victims were called in the past week by bogus police officers claiming that they have arrested someone with the same surname as the victim and that a fraud offence has taken place on the victim’s bank account.

The bogus police officer asks them to withdraw cash for collection by a courier. One of the victim’s lost several thousand pounds.

The reports have been made in Hoddesdon, Cheshunt and Ware.

Telephone fraud (C) Shutterstock

Fraudsters may ask the victims to call back on 999, 101 or 161 to verify that they are genuinely a police officer, however this is part of the scam.

They keep the line open so that the victim continues to speak to the fraudster believing they are genuine officials.

Detective Inspector Rob Burns, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, said: “These fraudsters tend to target elderly people and can be extremely convincing and frequently change the methods they use.

“It’s important to remember that police officers and bank officials will NEVER ask you to withdraw money, purchase goods or hand over private banking details.

“Please help us to raise awareness by talking about this with your friends and family, especially if they are vulnerable or elderly.”

If you believe that you are a victim of this scam please contact Hertfordshire Police's non- emergency number 101, using a different phone to that used to communicate with the fraudsters.

If a fraud is in progress or someone’s life is in danger, call 999 immediately.

Hertfordshire Police offers the following crime prevention advice:

- Be sceptical of callers, even those who claim to be officials.

- Don’t be afraid to put the phone down with a brief ‘No, thank you’.

- NEVER give personal information, such as your date of birth or bank details, to unexpected callers.

- Remember that the police or your bank would NEVER unexpectedly call you and ask you to withdraw cash or move your money to another account, as a result of fraud or any other reason.

- If callers suggest you call your local police or bank to check who they are, use another phone or ensure the line has been fully disconnected by phoning a friend or relative first, or by waiting at least five minutes, otherwise you may think you’ve phoned a number, but you’re simply talking to the fraudsters again. This is a common fraudsters’ tactic.

- If a caller asks you to type your bank PIN number into your telephone handset - do not do this, as fraudsters can use technology to identify the numbers.

- You can opt out of many cold calls by registering for free with the Telephone Preference Service on 0845 070 0707.

To see a video demonstrating how fraudsters operate click here.