Fraudsters contacted the victim by telephone from a withheld number, purporting to be from the Serious Fraud Squad. To substantiate this claim, the caller was able to confirm easily obtainable basic details about the victim such as their full name and address. They told the victim that a suspect was in custody after being found in a well know retail outlet, using a bank card with the victim’s name on. There were many calls back and forth all day long. Eventually the victim was passed to a ‘Police Sergeant’ who advised the victim that they needed her to withdraw cash for evidence purposes. The fraudster stayed on the line to the victim while they attended their banks and frightened the victim into not trusting any of the staff at the bank.
Almost £5000 was withdrawn and the victim was told to handle the money wearing gloves to prevent evidential loss. Once the victim has returned home, for more than 40 minutes the fraudsters directed the victim to relay all of the serial numbers on the notes to them. The victim was asked to bring the money to London and when she explained that she couldn’t, the caller told her a plain clothes officer from the local station would be attending to collect instead. A code word was given by the caller for the victim to relay to the courier. After collection a follow up call was made to reassure the victim that the money would be back in their account by the next day. The public are reminded that these fraudsters are highly professional in their approach and incredibly convincing.
The scale of courier fraud in the UK should not be underestimated, as nationally:
The best way to prevent these scams is to make everyone aware.
Report fraud here: www.actionfraud.police.uk
Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and address or even your mother’s maiden name), it doesn’t mean they are genuine;
Be mindful of who you trust – criminals may try and trick you into their confidence by telling you that you’ve been a victim of fraud.
Stay in control – if something feels wrong, then it is usually right to question it. Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information.
If you are concerned that a family member, friend or neighbour may be at risk of this particular type of fraud, To stop the calls you may like to consider the purchase of a ‘Call Blocker’ (there are two types in the main) which is fitted in line with your telephone socket and land line telephone. These devices can block all calls and only allow pre-programmed numbers through or the other has a button which allows you to block any call after you have determined that you don’t wish to receive any more calls from that caller. Just ‘google’ the words ‘call blocker’ for more information and make sure you consider purchasing a product that is Secured by Design (SBD) approved.
Message Sent By
Kim Foster (Police, Crime Prevention Officer, Barnstaple)