East Kent residents are reminded to beware of criminals posing as police officers who ask for financial details over the phone following several recent incidents.

Kent Police has received 19 reports since Monday 1 August 2022 from victims in Ashford, Lydd, Dover, Deal and New Romney. Some of the incidents have resulted in victims losing their money.

Bogus investigations

Fraudsters will ring people, stating they are a police officer from a particular police station, and ask for bank cards, cash or personal information in order to assist with bogus investigations.

A courier is then sent to the victim’s address to collect the money or items, often travelling via taxi. Sometimes a taxi is sent to the victim’s home so they can be taken to a nearby bank to withdraw their savings.

£6,000 lost

During one incident, reported on 2 August 2022, a victim from New Romney lost more than £6,000 to scammers. She received a phone call from a man claiming to be a detective. He said they had a man in custody who had the victim’s bank card and said they believed the man worked for her bank and had fraudulently used her card multiple times.

The victim was misled not to trust her bank and told to go and withdraw a large sum of cash. A courier, that she thought had been sent by a real detective, collected the cash from her before she realised she had been defrauded.

A similar thing happened on 5 August in Ashford. A victim took a call from a scammer who said he was a detective from a fraud team in London.

He asked the victim to withdraw money as they were carrying out an internal investigation into her bank and said the money in her account was fake. He asked her to withdraw more than £5,000 and give it to a courier who would attend her property to collect it.

Prevent and Protect Fraud Officer, Steve Kelly, at Kent Police said: ‘Whilst many people are becoming wise to the ways in which such criminals operate, this recent spike in reports demonstrates that those responsible are not giving up and that they are successful on some occasions.

‘It is really important we look out for our neighbours and family members, especially those who may be elderly or vulnerable, and ensure they have all the advice they need to stay safe.

‘We work very closely with banks and many scams have been intercepted due to this partnership approach. Often bank staff spot the signs of fraud and will ask questions about large cash withdrawals and alert us to any suspicious activity.

‘A police officer will never ask someone to withdraw money or hand over their bank cards. We have an ABC rule that is easy to remember, never Assume someone is telling the truth when they call or Believe what they say and always Confirm the details they have provided.

‘Anyone who does receive a suspicious telephone call of this nature should hang up, wait ten minutes to ensure the line is clear, and then call 101 to check the credentials of the person who called.’

Get help and report online

If a crime is in progress, always call 999, but you can report non-urgent incidents of fraud online by visiting www.kent.police.uk where you can also find a wealth of advice.

You can also call Action Fraud to report incidents on 0300 123 2040.

By Ed

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