Warning as Hertfordshire residents lose £8,000 to fraudsters posing as police officers
Hertfordshire Police warn residents to be vigilant
Fraudsters posing as police officers have been contacting Hertfordshire residents in recent weeks.
Six residents - in Hertford, Hitchin, Royston and Watford - were contacted by bogus callers posing as police officers asking them for their bank details.
They were then asked to hand over their bank cards or money to a courier.
The scam involves a telephone call via mobile or a landline number, with someone posing as a police officer and informing the resident there has been fraudulent use on their bank account.
The victims were then then instructed to put their bank cards and/or money into an envelope and give them to a courier or taxi, which is sent to the house by the offenders to collect.
If bank cards are collected they can be used later by the offenders to withdraw large sums of money.
The offenders also request people’s help in investigating the fraud and ask people to disclose their bank details, including their account and PIN numbers.
There have been six incidents reported to police since the start of December, victims in Hitchin, Hertford and Royston lost more than £8,000.
Detective Inspector Rob Burns, from the Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, said: “Police officers or bank staff would never ask for people’s bank details, like a PIN. 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 personal and bank details.
"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 are 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.
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 a neighbour’s 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 Hertfordshire Police need to raise awareness to prevent further people becoming victims.
Report any calls you believe are suspicious as the police 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.