Phone scams warning after increase in calls from fraudsters in Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 13:46 05 December 2014 | UPDATED: 13:46 05 December 2014

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An increase in the number of phone scams in Hertfordshire has prompted an urgent county-wide warning from the police.

Herts police's phone scam warning posterHerts police's phone scam warning poster

Elderly people are still being targeted by fraudsters pretending to be police officers and demanding bank details.

Around 70 phone scams were reported across the county last month.

Seven of the unsuspecting people called fell victim to the scams and lost large sums of money. An estimated £25,000 was stolen by the fraudsters.

There was a spate of attempted phone scams in Potters Bar earlier this year, and the Welwyn Hatfield Times reported in October how a 90-year-old Welwyn Garden City woman was conned out of nearly £50,000 by a callous crook posing as a police officer.

Herts police phone scam poster

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With an increase in the number of cases being reported ahead of the Christmas period, the force’s message is: “The police and banks will NEVER ask you to send them your bank cards or money.”

Detective Inspector Jason Keane, who leads the force’s response to phone scams, said: “The vast majority of people quite rightly see through the lies of these fraudsters and don’t give away any of their personal details, bank cards or money.

“However people should be under no illusion about just how convincing these callers are – people of all ages and professions have fallen for the scam.

“They prey on the trusting nature of people and often deliberately target the elderly and vulnerable.

It’s a Scam

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.

* NEVER ask you to withdraw money and send it to them via a courier, taxi or by any other means.

* NEVER ask you to send your bank cards, or any other personal property, to them via courier, taxi or by any other means.

“We are working with our partners across the county to help raise awareness of these scams and what measures can be taken to avoid becoming a victim of them but we still need the public’s assistance.”

Another tactic employed by the fraudsters is to tell their intended victims to hang up and call the police to confirm they are who they claim to be.

What the victims don’t know is that the line remains connected to the original caller, as they can keep the line open even if the victim hangs up and dials a number.

The scammer then has the opportunity to pretend to be another person and confirm their original story.

Once the person has been convinced by the caller, a courier or taxi is sent to their address and the cards and/or money are collected and used by the fraudsters.

Det Insp Keane added: “I urge every person who reads this message to share the following advice with all their relatives, friends and neighbours.

“I can categorically say the police and banks will NEVER ask you to send them your banks cards or money or any other personal possession.

“We would also NEVER ask for your PIN or request you transfer money from one account to another. This is simply something we would never do.

“If you receive a call you’re not expecting, you should be suspicious.”

* If you are not happy with a phone call, and are suspicious of the conversation you have with the caller, contact police via the non-emergency number, 101.

Remember, when reporting a suspicious phone call to police, wait at least five minutes before attempting to make the call or use a mobile or neighbour’s phone to ensure you are not reconnected to the offender.

* For further information about phone scams and how to avoid becoming a victim, please visit www.herts.police.uk/PhoneScams


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