Sussex Police are warning of an increase in fraudulent telephone calls to the elderly, especially in Wealden, from fraudsters proclaiming to be either bank staff or police officers.
The scammers ask the victim to withdraw cash for collection or give them their bank details over the phone.
They may claim to be a police officer (often from the Met Police/Met Fraud Unit), and say they are investigating a fraud on their bank account and have someone arrested. They might also claim to be from the victim’s bank, again stating they are investigating fraudulent activity on their account.
The offender asks for account information, including card, security and PIN numbers. Sometimes the offenders will ask victims to ‘key in’ their PIN number into the phone – the number is then captured by the offenders.
They may also ask the victim to withdraw a large sum of cash from their bank or building society. If they make this request they will explain that the money is required as it needs to be “forensically examined”.
They claim the bank may be involved…
They also instruct the victim not to tell the bank why they are withdrawing the money, giving the reason that the bank might be involved in the fraud.
The victim is then instructed to put the bank cards and/or money into an envelope and give them to a courier or taxi, which is sent to the house by the offenders to collect the items. If bank cards are collected they will be later used by the offenders to withdraw money.
In some cases the victim might become suspicious and doubt the validity of what the caller is saying. If this happens, the offender will suggest they call the police via 999 or 101 or contact their bank in order that the victim can confirm the caller’s identity.
However, what the victim doesn’t realise is that the caller hasn’t hung up so the line remains open, even if the victim hangs up, so the victim is put straight back through to the offender who will then pretend to be another person. This ‘new’ person will then validate the original caller’s claims.
What should you do if you get the call?
If you receive a call you’re not expecting, you should be suspicious. The vital things to remember are that your bank and the police would:
- NEVER ask for your bank account details or PIN number over the phone, so do not disclose these to anyone, no matter who they claim to be.
- NEVER ask you to withdraw money and send it to them via a courier, taxi or by any other means.
- NEVER ask you to send your bank cards, or any other personal property, to them via courier, taxi or by any other means.
If you are not happy with a phone call and are suspicious of the conversation you have with the caller then please end the call and report it. But remember: when reporting a suspicious phone call to police, wait at least five minutes before attempting to make the call to ensure you’re not reconnected to the offender. Alternatively, use a mobile phone or a neighbour’s phone or test your landline by phoning a friend or relative first, to ensure you aren’t still unwittingly connected to the offender.
If you have concerns about your bank account, visit your local branch, or call them using a number from your own bank statements.
Get help or report a scam
If you think you’ve uncovered a scam, been targeted by a scam or fallen victim to fraudsters, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at Action Fraud. Call Sussex Police on 101 if you know the suspect or they’re still in the area.
Reporting crime, including fraud, is important. If you don’t tell the authorities, how do they know it’s happened and how can they do anything about it?
Remember that if you’re a victim of a scam or an attempted scam, however minor, there may be hundreds or thousands of others in a similar position. Your information may form part of one big jigsaw and be vital to completing the picture.
Please share with you elderly, or vulnerable family/friends.
Click for information about other scams and fraudulent activity.