Fraudsters claiming to be police officers have been targeting people across the country in a spate of incidents over the past few days.
One victim has already been conned out of thousands of pounds with at least seven other attempts in Cheltenham and the Forest of Dean over the last 24 hours.
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.
In one incident yesterday (Wednesday 2 December), the victim handed over £5,000 to the phoney courier who was described as being white, 5ft 8ins tall and speaking with a slight accent, possibly Eastern European. He was wearing tight black jeans and a hi-vis jacket.
The police will never ask you to provide bank card details, withdraw or move 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.
More advice to help stop you from becoming a victim of fraud is below:
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.