Warning of bogus ‘police’ caller

A telephone scammer has targeted a Northumberland woman claiming to be a police officer.

Police are warning people to be on their guard after the incident on Monday.

A genuine police officer would never contact a member of the public in this way and ask them to transfer cash.

Detective Superintendent Alan Veitch

The woman was called by a man claiming to be a Metropolitan Police officer, who convinced her to transfer large amounts of money from her own bank account to a so-called ‘police account’, which he claimed was for safe keeping.

Detective Superintendent Alan Veitch said: “A genuine police officer would never contact a member of the public in this way and ask them to transfer cash.

“We want to make it clear that anyone who calls claiming to be a police officer and making such a request is clearly a fraudster.

“Anyone who receives such a call should put the phone down immediately and contact the police straightaway, preferably using another phone.”

He is encouraging all neighbours, family members, friends and carers to look out for their loved ones and report any suspicious behaviour or incidents to police.

Conmen are using a number of ways to try to scam money out of people, and are particularly focusing on the elderly and vulnerable.

This is a national scam and involves fraudsters intercepting phone lines, holding open lines, and posing as other police forces and bank authorities to con residents out of money.

Police have issued five tips for staying safe against bogus callers:

• Always be on your guard if you receive a cold call and are asked for personal or financial information, or to hand over your card or cash to someone.

• The bank or the police will never tell you to take such actions so if you’re asked it can only be a criminal attack.

• Fraudsters may ask consumers to hang up and phone back in a bid to win confidence. But this is a trick where the receiver is not put down at their end, leaving the line open, allowing the fraudster to simply restart the conservation when the consumer thinks a new call has been made.

• If suspicious, wait a full five minutes before attempting to make a call. After five minutes has passed, try to call a friend or family member first to make sure the line is free, or use a second phone where available.

• Never give out your four-digit PIN over the phone, even if you believe you are talking to a genuine police officer or bank personnel.

If you receive a call asking for personal or financial information, don’t be afraid to tell the caller you will call the police to verify their identity. A genuine caller will not mind waiting while you carry out security checks with the police.

Enquiries into the latest incident are ongoing. Anyone with information, or who may have concerns about bogus callers, is asked to contact police on 101, ext 69191, quoting reference 875 30/03/15.

Alternatively, contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.