PEOPLE in Worcestershire are being targeted by telephone scammers claiming to be from the police and even from the ‘Fraud Squad in Scotland Yard’.
In the latest fraud attempt the caller says they are a police officer investigating suspicious activity on the recipient’s account and they must co-operate with the investigation.
The victim is then pursuaded to withdraw funds and hand them over to the ‘investigators’ either remotely or in person to ‘a courier’.
The caller tells the victim if the bank cashier queries the large withdrawal, they should say it is for work or home repairs or Christmas shopping.
Some people have been asked to hand over bank cards or other valuable items or transfer funds to another account operated by the fraudsters.
West Mercia Police have warned people not to make any payments as no legitimate bank, building society, police officer or business would never ask for cash, cards or pins.
The scams, the force said, were extremely convincing and manipulative as the fraudsters will often give alleged crime numbers, investigation details and job titles.
They always say transactions must be done in secret and urge victims ‘not to trust bank staff’.
As well as not parting with cash, cards, PINs or personal information, people are urged to pass on the information about these scams to friends, relatives and neighbours, particularly the elderly and vulnerable.
Sgt Carl Jones said: “Don’t trust anyone who calls you about your bank details.
“Always hang up and wait ten minutes to ensure the call has disconnected before making another call.
“If you want to check they are legitimate, find their number via directory enquiries and call them back.
“Use a different telephone to make sure the line is clear.
“If they are genuine, you should be able to get through to them.
“You can also check what they are saying is true with your bank.
“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.”
He urged anyone who found themselves in these situations to provide no details, hand nothing over and to contact Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
He added: “We are asking for help from the public to spread this message throughout the wider community and would urge you to pass it on, particularly to elderly relatives or neighbours, and ask them not to trust anyone who calls them asking them for their bank details.”
If the crime is in progress, for example if people have recently provided bank details or handed over cards or cash or agreed for couriers to call at their home they should call police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.