The police take phone scams very seriously. Criminals will often use scam phone calls as a way of defrauding people out of their money. On most occasions, people realise that the call is a scam, but we are encouraging people to continue be vigilant.
What to look out for:
Typically scammers will pretend to be from the police, and tell callers that their bank cards have been used fraudulently. Often the callers have stated that they are from the MET police, but they have been known to claim that they are from West Mercia Police, MI6 or the fraud squad. They will often say that they have the offenders in custody.
Usually they will then ask the victim to contact their bank to cancel their cards. In doing so, they will ‘hold the line’, so the victim believes that they are calling their bank, when in fact they are still on the line to the offenders.
They will then encourage the victims to hand over their bank details, including their PIN which they will often ask them to enter into the keypad of the phone.
Following this they will say that the cards are needed and send a courier to collect them. Sometimes they will ask the victims to give a password which the courier will use to make it appear more genuine. Consequently the offenders have been able to withdraw money from victim’s accounts.
On other occasions, rather than sending a courier, they have asked the victims to transfer money to a secure police account, asking them to call back to verify that they are genuine, whilst holding the line.
Sometimes the scammers have told the victims to attend the bank to transfer money but told them that bank employees are involved in the scam, so not to mention it to them.
More recently callers have told victims that they are from Customs and Excise and that they have paid too much tax. In order to get this back they must pay an amount of money via a courier.
These scammers will often target those who are elderly or vulnerable. People with common surnames such as Jones or Smith tend to be targeted more often.
What to do:
We offer the following advice to protect you from these scams:
- Remember police officers, and banks will never ask for account details or PINs over the phone.
- Police officers and banks would never come to your house to collect your cards or property.
- They would also never ask you to transfer money to a secure account.
- If you receive a call like this, hang up immediately and call 101 using another phone. In an emergency or if a crime is in progress call 999.
- If you have elderly friends or relatives who may be vulnerable to this scam, please talk to them and make them aware.