Warning over bogus police officer calls scam targeting the elderly
DEVON and Cornwall Police are investigating reports of a phone scam which has led to two people aged in their 80s handing over substantial sums of money and are appealing for information.
Officers are also warning South West residents to be vigilant of the scam, in which the caller is pretending to be a police officer.
Detectives say they have had an increased number of calls about this scam over the past few weeks - particularly in the Exeter, South Devon and the Plymouth areas.
In one case, the victim was persuaded to hand over more than £15,000, and more than £9,000 in another case.
As part of the scam, they were also asked to provide some of the money in foreign currency or purchase expensive watches. only to then hand them over to the scammer.
It has been reported that the male caller pretends to be a person called ‘Sergeant Martin Spencer’ from the police in London, and says he is investigating the unauthorised use of the person’s bank card.
He also advised those answering his calls that they should not tell anyone about the call, as it may jeopardise the police investigation.
Detective Inspector Guy Biggar said: “We are advising anyone who receives such a call not to give any personal information and hang up immediately.
“This type of call can be linked to courier fraud, where victims will be encouraged to withdraw funds from their bank account or give bank cards to a courier, arranged by the ‘police officer’ making the call under the guise of ‘assisting with a police investigation’.
“We will never contact people to ask for banking information or request that they withdraw money from an account to aid an investigation.”
He went on to say: “Fraudsters often target geographical areas where they know elderly or vulnerable people live, so we are asking that if you have family or friends who are vulnerable in any way, that you make them aware of this scam.”
If you have any information that could help the police with their enquiries or know someone who has received a call of this nature, please email [email protected] or call 101, quoting CR/049562/22.
Police advise on receiving a scam call of this nature to terminate the call, wait five minutes and ensure you can hear a dial tone before calling 101, and then call your bank using the number found on the back of your card.
All reports of this nature also need to be reported to Action Fraud 0300 120 2040 or online https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
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