Police are warning members of the public to be aware of a telephone scam which could result in people losing large amounts of money.
At least one elderly woman in South Warwickshire has already lost more than £4,000 after she was targeted by a con man who claimed to be from the Metropolitan Police.
In the scam the 85-year-old woman was advised to phone her bank and cancel her cards.
However the woman’s phone line had been hacked and instead of being connected to her bank, unknowingly she was speaking to the same gang who had phoned her pretending to be from the Metropolitan Police.
The scam continued with the woman being advised to withdraw all her money from her bank, which the “police officer” then persuaded her he needed as evidence.
Police Staff Investigator Keith Duncan from the local investigation team in Leamington said, “These are professional con men and women, and they make their story sound very convincing. It is part of the scam to get their victims to trust them.
“They target the elderly and the vulnerable, pretending to be helping them, but in fact they are just out to steal as much money as they can.
“It is very important that anyone with who has elderly relatives or neighbours takes a few minutes to make them aware that if they are contacted by someone claiming to be from their bank, or from the police, they should take their name and collar number and which department they are calling from before discussing anything further. You should then tell them you will call them back.
“Ideally we would advise that you use a completely different phone, such as a mobile phone to call the bank, or the police station to check on the call. But if you don’t have a mobile phone, ring someone you know first, to make sure your phone is working properly.
“Always use the number printed on your banking information, not a number given to you by the caller. To contact the police the non emergency number 101 can be used to contact any police force in the country. This will put you through to the force call handling centre from where you can be connected to a police officer.
(Callers should be aware that by dialling 101 you will NOT connect directly with a police officer. In an emergency where a crime is in action, or there is threat of injury or death you should always dial 999.)
“We are also reminding people that they should never give any bank details or their PIN number of passwords to anyone who phones them, even if they claim to be from the bank or the police.”
“If anyone has any information about the scam, or if you have been targeted in a similar way please contact PSI Keith Duncan in local investigations at Leamington Police Station on 01926 684239, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
Police are now advising members of the public to be aware of this scam.
· If you are contacted by the police or by your bank about possible problems with any of your bank cards, or about your bank account do not give any details to them over the phone about account numbers of PIN numbers.
· Tell them you will call them back.
· End the call and phone a friend or a relative using the same phone to establish if the telephone line is clear.
· Phone the bank using the number the bank has provided you with.
· Never use a telephone number given to you by the caller.
· Ask if there are any problems with your account
· Never give money to a third party claiming to be a representative of your bank.
· If you are contacted by the police ask for their name, rank and collar number and establish which police force they are calling you from.
· You can contact any police force in the country by dialling 101. You will automatically be put through to your local force unless you state that you are trying to contact a specific police force.