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Trust your instincts say police after telephone fraudsters target Stratford upon Avon

Police are urging the public to trust their instincts after telephone fraudsters claiming to be from the police or trusted companies attempt to scam residents in the Stratford upon Avon area.

The first incident occurred when a woman in her 80s was called by a male purporting to be DC Roger from the Fraud Team on Tuesday 24 April 2018. He stated her card had been used at Argos for £900 and told her if she didn't believe him to call 161 and speak with his boss Mr Fletcher. She did this and he confirmed everything that 'DC Roger' had said. She was asked for various account details and then told to go and withdraw 4500 in euros and to keep the phone live whilst doing this.

Although the fraudsters were very convincing, the woman trusted her instincts and called her daughter who met her at the Post Office. The woman did not have all the information she needed to withdraw the money and when her daughter questioned her she handed her the phone and the fraudster hung up. No money was stolen.

DI Emma Wright, Head of Warwickshire Police Economic Crime Unit, said "Don't trust anyone who calls you about your bank details. Always hang up and wait 10 minutes to ensure the call has disconnected before making another call. If you want to check they are legitimate, find their number via directory enquiries and call them back. If they are genuine, you should be able to get through to them. You can also check what they are saying is true with your bank."

The Post Office said another lady had come in earlier on the 24 April also reporting that she had had a call from DC Roger and to call 161 to confirm this. She was not asked for any money or bank account details other than where she banked and no money was stolen.

In another incident, at 3.40pm on 24 April a woman in her 90's received a call from a man saying he was Detective Jones from Scotland Yard. He told her her bank account had been emptied. She did not give the fraudster any information about her account and no money was taken.

DI Wright said "The scams are very elaborate and very convincing and cruel. If you think someone is trying to scam you, tell someone straight away. Don't be pressured. Give yourself time to stop and think. Please remember the police will never contact you asking for your bank card or cash. If someone does, it's a scam - provide no details and hand nothing over, hang up and report it immediately to Action Fraud."

Not all scammers claim to be from the police and over the weekend a male was called twice by a fraudster claiming to be from BT Openreach to arrange a telephone appointment for Monday 23 April. On Monday the fraudster called and told him that his router was slow and the male agreed to give them access to his computer. They offered him a refund of £204 and he gave his bank details. He also provided a copy of his driving licence and passport via his scanner. They said a new router would arrive on Tuesday 24 April and it didn't. The fraudsters also set up a bitcoin account and a Weston Union account for him and attempted to take money but fortunately his bank stopped it and no money was stolen. He has since contacted his bank to change his bank details and contacted Action Fraud.

DI Wright said "We are doing a lot to tackle these scams including working with other agencies and an increasing number of bank staff are trained to spot the signs of a scam and raise the alarm (see www.westmercia.police.uk/article/41676/Police-banks-and-Trading-Standards-unite-in-Warwickshire-and-West-Mercia-stopping-over-167000-of-fraud).

We are asking the public to talk to people, particularly elderly relatives or neighbours and to tell them about these cases and ask them not to trust anyone who asks them for their bank details.

Officers are offering the following advice to help people avoid falling victim to telephone fraud:

No legitimate bank, building society, police officer, or business will ever phone you to ask you to give them your card, your PIN, or your cash.

If you get a phone call like the ones we've described, hang up - do not provide any personal details or hand anything over. Then report it to Action Fraud atwww.actionfraud.police.uk or 0300 123 2040.

If the crime is still in progress, because for example, you have recently provided bank details or handed over cards or cash, or the caller has arranged for someone to visit your address to collect items, then you should call the police to report this on 101. In an emergency dial 999.

If you need some support from your bank or building society, go to your local branch or phone them on the correct number (not one a mystery caller gives you, as this is likely to be part of the scam).

Trust your instincts: apply the same logic you would in the real world if a stranger with an unusual (or dodgy) story asked for your money or your private information.

Published 25/04/18