Police issue warning over bogus phone scam after residents conned out of £200k

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Humberside Police are urging members of the public, especially the elderly, not to fall foul of a national bogus caller scam after further calls being reported in North Lincolnshire over the last month.

According to officers, the vast majority of callers over the month were aware of the scam, however one person did end up losing money.

In the past the bogus callers have targeted elderly people in the Hull area, but are now ringing other parts of the force area.

Since the beginning of March 2015 the force have received 329 reports from elderly people letting us know they have received calls from someone pretending to be a police officer (or an official from a bank or HM Revenue & Customs).

In total 49 people had money stolen with a combined total of over £200,000 being stolen.

Detective Sergeant Mike Wood from the Economic Crime Unit said: “We are continuing to investigate the bogus official telephone calls in Humberside, which have left many victims distraught after losing large sums of money.

“Fortunately, the number of bogus calls that have led to money being stolen has reduced drastically over the past few months due to greater awareness in the scam. However, people in East Yorkshire, North East Lincolnshire and North Lincolnshire are still receiving calls from these unscrupulous thieves.

“To ensure this trend continues, I would urge everyone to speak to their elderly family and friends about the scam; telling them what it is and what to do if they are called.

“I would reiterate that police, banks and the HMRC would never ask a member of the public to transfer or hand over money or property as victims of fraud. If people are unsure I would urge them to call Humberside Police on 101 from a different phone to check whether the call is legitimate or speak to a neighbour or family.”

What is the scam?

The victim is called by an unknown person purporting to be a police officer (though this has also included people pretending to be a bank official or a representative from the HMRC).

During the call the offender says the victims has been the victims of fraud and to contact their bank.

However, when the victim calls the bank the caller has not actually cleared and it is another person pretending to be a bank employee at the end of the line. They gather the victim’s card details and personal data, as well as confirming the story of the bogus officer has given them.

The victim is then encouraged to either transfer their money to a secure account or had over money to an officer/courier who will be sent to pick it up the money.

• What should people do if they are called?

- Never give out bank or personal details to strangers

- Don’t hand over money or transfer funds to unknown accounts

- If called use another phone to ring the police to report the incident but do not use your own phone immediately as the offender may be on the line a short time after you have put your phone down.

If people are called as part of this scam they should where possible make a note of key details of the call, including the number the bogus caller has rung from before calling Humberside Police on 101.