'Any person could fall it': Elderly victim of fake police officer phone call fraud in Northampton speaks out

An elderly victim of a sophisticated phone scam has spoken out about her experiences.
An elderly victim of a sophisticated phone scam has spoken out about her experiences.

A Northampton woman has spoken out about how she was conned into handing over thousands of pounds to a scam artist pretending to be a police officer on the phone.

The victim has shared her story with Northamptonshire Police of how a man on the phone convinced her she could help catch criminals working at a bank - if she transferred money as a test.

The phone scam in late 2018 led to her withdrawing £6,000 at a time on the orders of a "police officer" - who was really just a con artist - who then came to collect it from her in person.

In a new video, she told Northamptonshire Police: "I had this phone call out the blue telling me someone was trying to use my debit card.

"They told me it was something to do with an internal gang from Natwest and I could help by transferring some money.

"He asked me for £6,000... Then next week he asked for a further £5,000... then another five after that.

"He kept saying they had nearly caught them."

The con artists then arranged for the victim to hand over the money in person to a courier who came to her door.

The conman at the door even asked the victim for a "password" she had arranged with them over the phone just top make the fraud seem more legitimate.

Speaking after she victimised, the woman said: "It made me feel so stupid. I just felt terrible. But the cashiers in the bank had checked everything each time and I just gone along with this guy pretending to be a police man said.

"If it happened again I would call the police and explain what had happened and take it from there."

DC Jamie Lindley said: "Any person could fall for this scam, not just the elderly within our society.

"These criminals use sophisticated scripts to react to situations and would have rehearsed the scam many times.

"If a victim receives a call of this type, particularly if its an unexpected call, is to be aware and to be suspicious of it."

Northamptonshire Police has issued a list of top tips to keep in mind to not be caught out by scam telephone calls:

- Never assume a phone call is genuine. even if the caller knows basic details about you such as your name and address.
- Criminals can make any telephone number appear on your phone handset, so even if the number shown seems authentic, never trust this.
- Under no circumstances would the police or banks ask you to withdraw money from your account, or transfer funds into another account for fraud reasons, nor would they ever ask you to become part of an undercover investigation.
- Have the confidence to end a call if it does not sit right with you
- Fraudsters can keep telephone lines open for a while. If you have to make subsequent phone calls use a different available phone. If you must use the same phone, wait at least five minutes after replacing the handset and call someone you know first to make sure the line is free.
- If you have vulnerable or elderly family members, please talk to them and share this advice so they understand how to protect themselves

Anyone receiving a suspicious phone call should report it either the police on 101 or online at www.actionfraud.police.uk. For more information about how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud visit the Take Five To Stop Fraud website at www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk.