Police reiterate warning as increasing numbers fall victim to ‘fake police officer’ scam
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Police in South Wales are warning the public to be cautious and vigilant, after a number of people have reported being contacted someone claiming to be a police officer – who then uses an elaborate story in an attempt to get the victim to hand over significant amounts of money.
In the past fortnight, South Wales Police has seen a marked increase in the number of people reporting calls of this nature. In Cardiff, at least eight reports were received in two days, while in the Vale of Glamorgan reports have been made on an almost daily basis. Force-wide, the number of similar reports has also increased.
In some of the instances, the victims were told their cards had been cloned or they had been victim of fraud, and they were asked to provide their bank details. During other calls, the victims were told a family member had been arrested, while others were told to visit cashpoints and draw out thousands of pounds or purchase expensive items to hand over to a ‘courier’ who would collect the money from their home.
In all of the cases, the person calling claimed to be a detective and was so convincing that some of those contacted handed over the money or bank details requested.
Detective Inspector Paul Raikes said:
“These scammers are extremely persuasive and convincing and are often very successful in duping people in to handing over substantial amounts of money.
“Many of this week’s victims have been elderly, but the truth is anyone can be targeted by these scammers and I’d urge everyone to be on their guard and to talk to their friends and loved ones about the scams. The more awareness there is of them, the less successful these fraudsters will be. Anything suspicious should be reported to us immediately.”
Detective Inspector Paul Giess, from the Economic Crime Unit, added:
“While many of the victims in these cases have been elderly or vulnerable, I cannot stress enough how sophisticated and well-rehearsed these scammers are, and any one of us could fall victim to their con if we are not vigilant.
“My message to the public is simple – the police, or any other legitimate organisation for that matter – will never contact you in this manner. All calls of this nature are a scam, and the person receiving the call should hang up as soon as possible.”
To minimise the risk of falling victims to fraudsters, the public are encouraged to remember these simple tips:
- Obtain details of caller including name, rank, collar number and station
- Ascertain what Police force they identify themselves as working for
- Note any contact details from caller display or via 1471 after the call has concluded
- Obtain the main force control room number from the phonebook, internet or directory enquiries service
- Terminate the call advising you will contact the force control room directly to confirm their identity and be put through to them internally (ring a family member first to ensure the line has disconnected from the initial caller)
- If anyone calls at your address following on from this communication please call 999.
- Provide any details of bank cards, account numbers, financial circumstances or personal details
- Agree to make purchases or obtain funds from accounts to hand over to couriers
- Hand over your bank cards or account paperwork.
Anyone who thinks they may have fallen victim to a scammer should report it via 101, or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.