Fresh phone scam alert after police arrest swoop
11:36 01 August 2014
Police who arrested a string of suspected phone scammers earlier this month have issued a caution call and warned: “Anyone could still be a victim.”
And they’ve asked people who have already got the message to make sure they share it with elderly relatives and neighbours, who are considered to be most at risk from the slick con callers – although victims of all ages and backgrounds have fallen for the scam.
The alert follows a worrying rise in the number of con calls recorded across the county in recent weeks.
There have been an average of nearly two incidents a day being flagged up in Herts in July – double the rate recorded in June – with three of the targets parting with their bank cards this month alone.
The smooth-talking callers pretend to be a police officer, and then trick people into passing over their bank details before arranging to collect the cards – or even cash and other valuable items – for bogus security reasons.
A surge of ‘courier crime’ earlier this year prompted Herts police and neighbouring forces to set up a special team to track down the gangs behind them.
They’ve also been hard at work spreading the ‘never give your details over the phone’ message to make the public aware of the risks.
Det Insp Jason Keane, who is heading up the Herts team, said: “More and more people are recognising the scams for what they are and rightly not parting with their personal and banking details.
“While this is encouraging and arrests are continuing to be made, it is still vitally important for people to remain aware that scams are still operating right across the county.
“In the vast majority of cases the elderly and vulnerable are the ones who are targeted by the offenders.
“If you receive a call you’re not expecting, you should be suspicious.
“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.
“If you’re not happy with a phone call and are suspicious of the conversation you have with the caller then please end the call and contact police via the non-emergency number, 101.
“Remember, when reporting a suspicious phone call to police, wait at least five minutes before attempting to make the call or use a mobile or neighbour’s phone to ensure you’re not reconnected to the offender.”
For more about phone scams and how to avoid becoming a victim, visit www.herts.police.uk/PhoneScams