Isle residents are being urged to make their elderly parents, grandparents and neighbours aware of a national scam were criminals are pretending to be bogus officials over the phone in order to steal from the elderly.
Yesterday (Wednesday July 8) the force has received 17 calls from elderly people letting us know they have someone pretending to be a police officer (or an official from a bank or HM Revenue & Customs) calling them.
Fortunately, they were all aware of the recent spate of scams following extensive media coverage; however others over the past few months have had thousands of pounds of savings stolen
Detective Sergeant Mike Wood from the Financial Investigation Team said: “We are thoroughly investigating all the bogus official telephone calls in Humberside, which have left many victims distraught after losing large sums of money.
“Fortunately, we are seeing increased awareness of the scam, as highlighted by the volume of calls yesterday. However, we are not resting on our laurels and nor should the public. I would therefore urge everyone to speak to their elderly family and friends about the scam; telling them what it is and what to do if they are called.
“I would reiterate that police, banks and the HMRC would never ask a member of the public to transfer or hand over money or property as victims of fraud. If people are unsure I would urge them to call Humberside Police on 101 from a different phone to check whether the call is legitimate or speak to a neighbour or family.”
What is the scam?
The victim is called by an unknown person purporting to be a police officer (though this has also included people pretending to be a bank official or a representative from the HMRC). During the call the offender says the victims has been the victims of fraud and to contact their bank.
However, when the victim calls the bank the caller has not actually cleared and it is another person pretending to be a bank employee at the end of the line. They gather the victim’s card details and personal data, as well as confirming the story of the bogus officer has given them.
The victim then received a further call from the bogus police officer suggesting they transfer their money to a security account or had over money to an officer/courier who will be sent to pick it up the money on the polices behalf.
What should people do if they are called?
• never give out bank or personal details to strangers
• don’t hand over money or transfer funds to unknown accounts
• If called use another phone to ring the police to report the incident but do not use your own phone immediately as the offender may be on the line a short time after you have put your phone down.
If people are called as part of this scam they should where possible make a note of key details of the call, including the number the bogus caller has rung from before calling Humberside Police on 101.