Gloucestershire Constabulary warns of scam phone calls from fake police officers
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Police are warning the public to be on their guard after a spate of incidents across the county of fraudsters claiming to be police officers.
The scammers have been particularly targeting the Stroud area with six incidents being reported in the last 24 hours. Fortunately on all six occasions, the victims did not reveal any personal information to the fraudsters.
There have also been reports of incidents in other parts of the country during the past few days, including the Forest of Dean, Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury.
Gloucestershire Constabulary is now warning people to be vigilant and to make their elderly relatives aware of this type of crime to prevent more people becoming victims.
The scam involves victims being called on a landline by a person claiming to be a police officer, asking them to help with an ongoing investigation which is fictitious.
They are asked to withdraw money from a bank and to then read the serial numbers on the cash. The fraudster informs them that the notes are counterfeit and need to be destroyed, with a “courier” being sent to collect the money.
The victims are told not to inform anybody as they could risk arrest themselves. The fraudsters are convincing and very manipulative.
They will try to frighten their victims and tell them not to inform anyone, specifically the bank, giving the excuse that staff are under investigation. In some cases, the fraudsters have given contact details of local taxi firms to pick the victim up and take them to their bank, so that they can set up a password for a courier to attend the victim’s home address to collect the money.
The police will never ask you to provide bank card details, withdraw sums of money, or purchase items to be collected. Anyone who believes that they have been the victim of a fraudulent phone call can report this by calling police on 101 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Advice to help stop you from becoming a victim of fraud:
- If you believe you are being targeted by a scammer hang up the phone and use a different phone line to call Action Fraud or the police. Scammers have a way to stay on the line and will pretend to be the police when you call back.
- If you don’t have access to a different phone line, wait for a period of time and try calling a family member or friend first to make sure the scammer is no longer on the line.
- Just because someone knows basic details about you like your address or date of birth, it doesn’t mean they are genuine police employees.
- Always question suspicious phone calls and report them to Action Fraud or the police.
- Always have a pad and pen next to the phone, if you get a suspicious call, take details, don’t get flustered, get names addresses and contact numbers. Then, disconnect the call. Walk away from the phone for at least five minutes and then contact Gloucestershire Constabulary to verify the details of the call.
- If police from any other force area contact you, ask them to contact Gloucestershire Constabulary who will then communicate with you if they need to.