Residents lost £80,000 last month to scam callers pretending to be police

A new phone scam targeting elderly people is set to hit the region

Hertfordshire residents lost more than £80,000 in scam telephone calls last month - Credit: PXFUEL

Hertfordshire residents lost more than £80,000 during January to fraudsters posing as police officers.

Nineteen residents have been targeted since the start of the year, with most of the victims aged over 65.

Six of the offences have happened in the Welwyn Hatfield area, but the fraudsters have been targeting victims all over the county.

The victims were contacted by callers posing as police officers, from either a landline or a mobile number, informing the intended victim that there has been fraudulent activity on their bank account.

The bogus police officer then asks them to withdraw cash, or in some cases to buy expensive items, to hand over to a courier that is despatched to their address by the fraudster.

The offenders may also ask people to assist in the investigation by disclosing their bank details, including their account and PIN numbers.

Detective inspector Rob Burns, from the Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, said: “We have seen more people being targeted by this type of scam over the past month with some victims losing a lot of money.

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"The fraudsters use different stories to convince people they are genuine, the important thing to remember is that police officers or bank staff would never ask for people’s bank details, like a PIN, or for cash to be handed over. You should never give your bank details to anyone.

"Usually the intended victim realises the call is not genuine and refuses to part with their details or cash. However, these fraudsters can be very persuasive."

The vital things to remember are that your bank and the police would never ask for your bank account details or PIN number over the phone, so do not disclose these to anyone, no matter who they claim to be.

Your bank or police would also never ask you to withdraw money and send it to them or send your bank cards, or any other personal property via a courier, taxi or by any other means.

If you have a phone call and are suspicious of the conversation you have with the caller then end the call and dial 101 or report online

When reporting a suspicious phone call to police, wait at least five minutes before making the call to ensure you’re not reconnected to the offender.