A WARNING has been issued by police about the latest phone scam where fraudsters call up pretending to be from Scotland Yard.
The courier fraud technique has been used previously to take thousands of pounds from elderly and vulnerable people.
The deception can also be carried out in several ways, including the caller claiming they are from the police and are investigating suspicious activity or fraud in the person’s bank account, telling them they need to co-operate with the investigation.
The victim is then persuaded to withdraw funds to hand them over to the ‘investigators’ by some remote means or via a courier.
The victim is told if the bank cashier queries the large withdrawal that they are to say it is for work/repairs in the home or shopping.
Alternatively the victim may be asked to hand over bank cards, vouchers or other valuable items. They may also be asked to transfer funds to another account, which is controlled by the fraudsters.
Det Insp Emma Wright said: “This type of fraud often targets older and more vulnerable people and we would urge everyone to tell someone, by passing on the information about the bogus callers to relatives, friends and neighbours who may not have heard about the local telephone scam in operation.
“Following several reported unsuccessful attempts to defraud people using this scam in the last few days, I would also ask the public to get in touch with elderly and vulnerable friends and family to warn them of the risk and to know what to do.
“In the most recent incidents, ‘DC Alex McQueen from Scotland Yard’ was used as an alias but the name they use is regularly changed.
“Always remember that no police officer from any force or department will ever ask you to hand over money or transfer funds, regardless of their name or unit.”
As part of these extremely convincing and manipulative scams, fraudsters may give alleged crime numbers, investigation details and job titles and will almost always claim the transaction must be done in secret.
The fraudsters condition their victim not to trust bank branch staff which can make it hard for those employees to help.
“These calls are not genuine and payments should not be made.
“No legitimate bank/building society, police officer, or business will ever phone you to ask you to give them your card, your PIN, or your cash in the way we’ve described above.”
Anyone targeted should not trust anyone who calls regarding bank details, always hang up and wait ten minutes to ensure the call has disconnected before calling 101.
To check if calls are legitimate, ask for a number and verify it with directory enquiries and call them back, using a different phone to make sure the line is clear.
If they are genuine, people will be able to contact them on the official numbers and their claims can be checked with bank staff on the banking numbers.
“Scams can be very elaborate, very convincing and cruel.
“If you think someone is trying to scam you, tell someone straight away.
“Don’t be pressured – give yourself time to stop and think.”
The police would never request bank card or cash – if someone does, it is a scam.
People should provide no details and hand nothing over, hang up and report it immediately to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or 0300 123 2040.
“If the crime is still in progress, because for example, you have recently provided bank details or handed over cards or cash, or the caller has arranged for someone to visit an address to collect items, report it to 101 or 999 in an emergency.