Eight Northamptonshire residents have been contacted by ‘fake’ police officers in the space of two days in an elaborate attempt to fraudulently obtain money - with two victims falling for the con.
Between Tuesday, March 5, and Wednesday, March 6, a total of eight people reported having received calls from a male purporting to be a police officer from the Metropolitan Police.
Five offences were reported in Kettering, two in Corby and one in Daventry.
The Northants Telegraph warned of the scam just a week ago
The caller used a variety of different names when calling the home telephone lines – although in four of the cases the name DC Morris was used. He claimed to be from Paddington Green Police Station, Hammersmith Police Station, Charing Cross Police Station or New Scotland Yard.
Officer Jamie Lindley, from the Fraud Crime Team, said: “Although in each case the circumstances varied slightly, each of them involved the caller stating that they had a suspect who was using the victim’s bank card to make purchases. The caller then asked the victim to check if the card was still in their possession, and if so, he stated that the suspect must have a cloned card.
“The caller also informed the victim of suspicious activity on the card. In some cases the caller advised them to call the number on their bank card to verify this with their bank. The caller advised the victim that he/she would hear a beep on their phone line, after which they should telephone their bank. What the victims often don’t realise is they are still on the line to the same fraudster as the original call has not been disconnected.
“Victims are often also told that corrupt bank staff are suspected of involvement, and the victim’s cash in their account is being replaced with counterfeit notes. The victim is asked to attend their bank and make a large cash withdrawal so that the ‘officer’ can confirm if the withdrawn cash is indeed counterfeit. The caller will also tell the victim to lie to bank staff as to what the purpose of the withdrawal is for, to avoid tipping off the bank staff.
“Once the victim has returned home with the money, the caller asks the victim to read out serial numbers from the bank notes and tells them that it is counterfeit – the money is in fact genuine - and will need to be seized as evidence. A courier is arranged to collect the cash from the victim’s home address, often quoting a password pre-arranged with the caller.
“Victims are warned not to tell anyone of their involvement in helping the police as it will jeopardise the investigation.“
In six of the reported cases, the victims became suspicious and while they have been affected emotionally, no money has been handed over.
Unfortunately, in two of the cases, the victims had couriers attend their addresses and one of them handed over a bank card, while in the other case, cash was handed over.”
Police are advising people on how to avoid this scam:
• Neither the police, your bank or any other trusted organisation will ever ask you to withdraw cash from your account, or move money to a safe account, or send someone to collect money from you
• Never disclose any personal or financial information as a result of an unexpected call
• If you are unsure as to the identity of a caller, end the call, and call back the organisation on a trusted number you have obtained yourself
• Please report all such incidents to Northamptonshire Police
Visit the Take Five to Stop Fraud website for more advice on how to stay safe from scams.