A warning has been issued after scammers posing as police officers targeted East Kent pensioners to obtain financial information, bank card details, and online money transfers.

On Thursday 26 January 2023, seven residents from AshfordCanterbury, and Folkestone were contacted by someone who falsely claimed they worked for ‘Hammersmith Police’.

Eight victims

The fraudster told five victims that someone had been arrested while trying to use a bank card or cloned bank card in their name. One of the victims was asked to call back via 999, but the scammer then stayed on the line to connect to the same phone number.

Fortunately, all victims became suspicious, refused to provide any bank details, and terminated the calls.

An eighth pensioner from the North Downs area received a similar call on Friday 27 January and was defrauded of a large sum of money.

Stop and report

Detective Inspector Sheena Barrell of Margate’s CID said: ‘Scammers are using increasingly credible-sounding stories to defraud their victims. Unfortunately, a lot of victims are often vulnerable and elderly members of the community and can be defrauded into losing a substantial amount of money.

‘Please remember, a police force would never ask a member of the public for their bank details or money over the phone. If you receive a similar call, the advice is to hang up immediately and report it via our online form.’

Further advice

  • If you are not confident a person claiming to be a police officer is genuine, ask to take their details and then end the call.
  • Wait for at least five minutes for the call to clear and then contact 101, or 999 in an emergency. A call handler will be able to verify whether your caller was genuine.
  • Never hand over any money, or other items, to a courier after receiving this type of call.

Anybody with information relating to these incidents is urged to call Kent Police on 01843 222289, quoting reference 46/16428/23.

You can also contact Action Fraud on 0300 1232040 or Action Fraud by visiting their website.

The matter can also be reported to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 or by using the online form on their website.

By Ed

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