THREE women have foiled fraudsters trying to trick them to hand over their bank details or cash.
In the latest wave of telephone scams where a person posing as a police officer, usually from the London area, contacts a member of the public, often an elderly person, three women from Worcestershire became suspicious of the caller.
On Tuesday (March 11) a man claiming to be from Hammersmith Police rang a woman living in Suckley, near Worcester, claiming a relative had fraudulently used her bank account.
The woman questioned the caller who then hung up.
On the same day an elderly woman from Droitwich was called by a man posing as an officer from Hammersmith Police.
He said her bank card had been cloned and she should call her bank. She refused and the man hung up.
A third woman, from Malvern, was called on the same day by a man claiming to be working for the Metropolitan Police.
He said a man had been arrested on suspicion of fraud after spending £700 on her debit card.
He asked her to call the number on her bank card and cancel the card. When she tried to do this she recognised the voice of the person on the line as the man claiming he was from the police.
Detective Chief Inspector Sean Paley said: “In all these cases the women involved were vigilant and became suspicious. They took the right action to prevent themselves falling victim to this scam.
“They either refused to do what the caller asked, questioned what the caller said or noticed the callers voice was the same as the one believed to be a bank employee.
“These fraudsters usually state they are a police officer from London and sound very convincing. The offender asks the person to confirm the call is genuine by terminating the conversation asking them to return the call on a ‘trusted number ‘ such as the one on the back of their bank card.
“However, the offender keeps the line open by not replacing the receiver. When the householder dials the number, the line is still open to the offender. They elicit personal banking information from the victim, including PIN numbers and address details.
“The police are investigating all of these incidents but it is absolutely vital people are aware of what is happening and do not divulge personal or financial details to strangers who either phone them or come to their home,” he added.
The following advice will help protect people from falling victim:
- Never divulge your PIN number.
- Banks and police will not ask for this over the phone and will not come to the house to collect them.
- If you get one of these calls end it and call the police on 999 from another phone, or 101 if this has happened in the past.
- If you have given any details cancel cards immediately.
- If you phone the bank use the number on your banking details – not one given to you by the caller.
- If someone comes to your door saying they are a police officer, remember that genuine officers always carry a warrant card. If you have any doubts make them wait outside while you phone the police force. Genuine callers will understand.
Do not be embarrassed to report a fraud if you have been affected. This is a national scam and you are not alone – many people have been taken in by it.
Alternatively information can be passed on anonymously by calling the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or completing its online form by logging on to www.crimestoppers-uk.org.