Fraudsters are impersonating Police Officers in a new wave of scam cold calls. Scammers posing as police officers are spooking victims into handing over money and personal details, Which? warns.
One example of this scam. Victims were told that a fraud case was being investigated, that a relative of theirs was in custody or that someone had their bank card and ID. They explained they’d received a cold call from someone who said he was a Chelmsford police officer. He read out a badge number and said that the police were holding a young man who’d been caught using the member’s bank card. When asked which bank card he was referring to, the ‘officer’ couldn’t answer.
A Newbury resident has phoned me this morning as she nearly fell for this scam but did not give the caller any bank details but they had her name, address and phone number. They told her to phone 101 but they played a recorded dialling tone and stayed on the line. When she put the phone down she phoned 101 and has reported this to Action Fraud.
Some of these scams have been known to involve courier fraud, where criminals posing as police officers fabricate a scenario for the victim to hand over cash. Victims are told a ‘courier’ will be sent to collect the cash or other valuable items and if a person doesn’t comply, they face being ‘arrested’.
Never disclose financial information over the phone. Some cold calls are random attempts to trick victims into handing over sensitive information, others use details already known about you – such as your name or address – to sound more convincing. An unexpected call probing for information or asking for money should raise suspicions.
Police officers will never make unsolicited calls to ask you for personal or financial information. They’ll also never ask you to transfer money into an account, hand over cash or bank cards to a courier, or pay a fine or fee over the phone.
Register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) to stop legitimate companies from making unsolicited sales and marketing calls to you. So, when you receive a call like this, you’ll know a scammer is on the other end of the line. You could also consider installing a call blocker for nuisance calls.
To report a scam call received on your iPhone, text the word ‘call’ followed by the phone number to 7726. On an Android phone, text the word ‘call’ to 7726, and you’ll then receive a message asking you for the scam number.
WhatsApp scam calls can be reported by opening the WhatsApp chat with the dodgy phone number and tapping ‘block’. You can report the contact by tapping ‘report contact’ and ‘block’.
If you have been scammed, call your bank immediately using the number on the back of your bank card and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.