Detectives are warning residents to beware of bank card scams where criminals attempt to trick victims by cloning police phone numbers.
Those responsible are not actually calling from a police station but change their caller ID to make it appear like they are – a process known as ‘spoofing’.
Fraudulent phone calls
A number of potential victims were contacted by someone claiming to be from Holborn police station, in London. The suspect would claim the victims’ bank card had been used fraudulently and attempt to obtain their account details.
In one instance, a person was contacted by someone claiming to be from South Wales Police. The victim received several calls with phone numbers appearing to match the local force, as well as other agencies including the Home Office and HM Treasury.
She was told her identity had been stolen and advised of steps to safeguard her money, which included transferring funds from her account to an alternative account.
More than £60,000 stolen
The victim was warned not to tell anyone and even threatened with arrest if she failed to comply. More than £60,000 is reported to have been stolen in separate transactions.
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Detective Constable Fiona Dalzell of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: ‘It is important to remember that a police officer will never ask you to pay money over the phone or try and obtain any of your bank details.
‘Never give out your personal information in response to an incoming call or rely upon the caller ID as the sole means of identification – especially if the caller is asking you to do something that will affect you financially.
‘If you receive a suspicious call, hang up the phone and call a trusted number, such as a family member or friend, from a different phone, or wait at least five minutes to ensure the line has cleared. This will ensure you are not still talking to the same fraudster or an accomplice.
‘Contact your bank immediately if you think you may have been scammed and also report the incident to Action Fraud.
‘Remember the ABC rule to help protect yourself and others against fraud – never Assume it’s police, never Believe it’s police and always Confirm by taking their details and ringing back via 101.’