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4 July 2014, 12:33
Police are warning residents to remain vigilant following scams involving fraudsters obtaining bank details using bogus telephone calls.
On Tuesday, July 1, a 90-year-old man from Lee-on-the-Solent in Gosport received a call from a person who said he was a police officer from the Metropolitan Police.
He was told that they had arrested a man who was currently in custody, but to prevent the victim from losing £10,000 from his bank account he needed to transfer it into a 'police safe account' straight away.
The victim then went to his bank and transferred the money.
As part of this scam, the potential victims are often told to hang up their phone to call back to check the caller’s identity. The original caller does not hang up the phone and is therefore able to speak to the victim again when they think they are calling another number as the line is still connected.
This follows two separate incidents where elderly people in the area have been targeted and been pressured to transfer money to an alternative account by someone pertaining to be from the bank's fraud department. In both cases the victims became suspicious and hung up the phone, then called the police on 101.
Inspector Beth Pirie said: “This is a despicable crime targeting vulnerable people. We want to warn residents that these requests are not genuine and that no police officer or bank would operate in this manner. Anyone who receives a suspicious call is urged not to give any details to the caller and report the matter to the police immediately.
“Any courier companies or taxi drivers that may have been asked to pick up such packages in the area are also urged to report this to police.
“If you have elderly relatives, friends or neighbours please make them aware of this scam and remind them not to give any details to unexpected callers. Remain alert and if you see them being approached by unexpected visitors please check who they are and ensure they are a legitimate caller.”
People are reminded to protect themselves using the following advice:
• Never give out any personal information about your bank account to anybody over the phone.
• If someone calls claiming to be a police officer, ask for their identification number and police force. Hang up the call and advise that you will call them back using the 101 number. A genuine police officer will not mind waiting while you check. Call them back from a different phone if possible or wait at least 10 minutes before making the call.
• If you have given out information which could compromise your bank account security in any way, call your bank up to cancel your cards as soon as possible.
• Never hand over money to someone at the door to be sent off elsewhere.
• If someone comes to your door claiming to be a police officer or staff member, always ask for identification and make a note of their identification number. Ask them to wait while you verify their identity. Close the door and call 101.
Anyone who is concerned about similar incidents should contact police by calling 101. If a crime is in progress, please call 999.