Warning over phone scam that sees tricksters posing as police officers

thegazette@jpress.co.uk
thegazette@jpress.co.uk

A warning has been issued about a widespread phone scam that is now hitting homes in Dacorum.

It sees tricksters make phone calls pretending to be police officers and requesting bank details. In some cases victims are persuaded to hand over their bank cards which are then picked up by a courier.

A probe called Operation Policy has been launched into the scam, which targets elderly people.

Three households in Berkhamsted were targeted on Tuesday between midday and 2.30pm. The residents refused to part with their bank details.

Dacorum chief inspector Glen Channer said: “The advice is very clear - police officers would never ask you to reveal your personal bank account details, including your pin or bank card.

“Never give this information out over the phone and visit your local branch if you have any concerns about your account.

How does the scam work?

The scam works in different ways. The offender calls the resident, purporting to be a police officer, investigating a fraud on their bank account. On occasions, they claim to be working for the victim’s bank and they then ask for account information, including their card numbers, security number and pin number. Sometimes the offenders will ask victims to ‘key in’ their PIN number into the phone – the number is then captured by the offenders

In some cases, if the resident becomes suspicious, the offender suggests that they call 999 or 101 to ask for confirmation that the person is a police officer.

The victim then calls police, but doesn’t realise that the offender has not hung up so goes straight through to them again. In some cases a female offender comes on the line and pretends to be working in the ‘police control room’ and verifies the ‘officer’s’ details.

The caller is then ‘transferred’ back through to the first offender who obtains all the victim’s details.

On occasions the victim is asked to cut their cards in half leaving the chip intact, which builds trust with the victim, but the card can be repaired with tape and be used as normal.

A ‘courier’ is then sent to the house to pick up the victim’s card which is then used to obtain money.