Police in Lincolnshire say they are experiencing a sharp increase in the reporting of a fraud, whereby victims receive calls from a man pretending to be a police officer who asks them to draw cash from their bank account.
In many recent examples the scam caller pretends to be DC Smith from Hammersmith Fraud Squad.
This person is currently targeting elderly and vulnerable people within Lincolnshire, says Sgt Caroline Broughton from the Prevention Team at police headquarters.
There have been two further reports of this scam made this last week.
One report from Lincoln and another from a surrounding village were made on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. In both cases a phone call was received by the victim from a fraudster claiming to be a police officer working on a serious fraud offence.
Both victims were around 80 years of age and asked to hand over £5,000 of their savings. Previously the police reported several cases of elderly residents scammed in this way in the Grantham area.
Detective Inspector Mark Kirwan of Lincolnshire Police describes the fraud: “A criminal will ring the person and tell them lies by saying that they are a police officer and are investigating a fraud informing the resident that they should withdraw large amounts of cash from their savings and an officer will come to collect it.
“This is a fraud and not true. It is criminals stealing thousands of pounds from vulnerable people therefore, I want this message to be straight-forward and very clear.
“A genuine police officer will NEVER ring you and ask you to hand over cash.
“NEVER withdraw cash for someone you do not know and trust
“DO NOT do anything they tell you to do.
“ALWAYS end the call as soon as you suspect there is a problem.
“TELL a trusted close family member or friend what has happened as soon as you can.
“INFORM the police by dialling 101 or if you consider your situation an emergency, dial 999. Importantly part of the fraud is to tell the resident to put the phone down and call 999 or 101 however, the fraudster does not hang up so when the resident calls 999/101 they are still on the phone so either use a different phone or wait for a time.
“Most important is that you NEVER withdraw any cash.
“If you are a family member with vulnerable relatives, please ensure they understand this message.”
The man will try to convince the victim that their bank details have been compromised and that there is a suspect working in their local bank. The victim is told to remove an amount of money; this money will then be collected from their home address by a courier.
The fraudsters keep the telephone lines open through the entire call to the victim, meaning that if the victim attempts to call another number they will still be connected to the fraudsters.
In fact, the fraudsters often encourage the victim to call 101 and ask for the police in order to verify who they are – but in fact the victim is unknowingly still talking to the same offenders.
The fraudsters will nearly always tell the victim not to tell anyone at the bank when they go to withdraw cash.
Variations of this fraud include the caller/fraudster claiming to be from HM Revenue and Customs and telling the victim they owe a tax bill, and another involves the caller telling the victim they are court bailiffs collecting a debt.