Six arrested on suspicion of defrauding Hertfordshire victims out of more than £1m

PUBLISHED: 11:16 05 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:16 05 February 2020

Six men were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to defraud victims in Welwyn Hatfield, Letchworth, Baldock and Royston. Picture: Supplied

Six men were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to defraud victims in Welwyn Hatfield, Letchworth, Baldock and Royston. Picture: Supplied

Archant

Six men have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud victims in Baldock, Letchworth, Royston, Welwyn Hatfield and beyond.

They were arrested during police raids at several addresses in London between Tuesday and Thursday, January 28 to 30, as part of Operation Radium - a national fraud operation.

A 19-year-old man from Tower Hamlets, a 20-year-old man from Westminster, a 21-year-old and a 22-year-old man from Mile End, and a 24-year-old and a 31-year-old man from Camden were arrested, but have been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

The victims who they allegedly conspired to defraud were in Baldock, Bushey, Hatfield, Letchworth, Royston, Watford and Welwyn.

Herts police's Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, working alongside Kent police's Serious Crime Directorate, the Metropolitan Police, City of London Police and North East Regional Special Operations Unit, carried out the warrants as part of a wide-ranging investigation into bogus phone calls, which resulted in victims losing more than £1 million.

Det Insp Rob Burns, from the Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, said: "Courier fraud has been on the increase across the country and we have been carrying out intensive investigations to track down those responsible.

"Working with our partners in other forces and agencies, we have the capabilities to track and detain fraudsters wherever they are operating.

"It's important to remember that police officers and bank officials will NEVER ask you to withdraw money, purchase goods or hand over private banking details.

"Please help us to raise awareness by sharing this with your friends and family, especially if they are vulnerable or elderly."

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Herts police offer the following crime prevention advice:

- Be sceptical of callers, even those who claim to be officials.

- Don't be afraid to put the phone down with a brief 'No, thank you'.

- Never give personal information, such as your date of birth or bank details, to unexpected callers.

- Remember that the police or your bank would NEVER unexpectedly call you and ask you to withdraw cash or move your money to another account, as a result of fraud or any other reason.

- If callers suggest you call your local police or bank to check who they are, use another phone or ensure the line has been fully disconnected by phoning a friend or relative first, or by waiting at least five minutes, otherwise you may think you've phoned a number, but you're simply talking to the fraudsters again. This is a common fraudsters' tactic.

- If a caller asks you to type your bank PIN number into your telephone handset do not do this, as fraudsters can use technology to identify the numbers.

- You can opt out of many cold calls by registering for free with the Telephone Preference Service on 0845 070 0707.

If you believe that you are a victim of this scam please contact Herts police on 101 using a different phone to that used to communicate with the fraudsters.

If a fraud is in progress or someone's life is in danger, call 999 immediately.


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