Surrey Police detectives are warning residents to remain vigilant following two attempted scam offences where fraudsters tried to obtain bank details and credit cards from pensioners in the Frimley area.
In recent months Surrey Police has received a number of reports from members of the public who had received telephone calls from someone claiming to be a police officer or similar who then attempted to convince them to hand over large amounts of cash and bank cards.
The offenders often claim to be an officer from the Metropolitan Police Service and use a variety of pretences including saying the victim’s bank card has been used by somebody who they are holding in custody.
They then ask the victim to phone their bank to cancel the card and tell the victims that they will send a courier round to collect the card.
Meanwhile the fraudster stays on the line and obtains the victim’s bank details whilst they think they are phoning the bank. The courier then calls at the victim’s address saying they have been sent by the police to collect a parcel – the envelope containing the card or money.
One of the most recent incidents took place between 1-30 and 3pm yesterday (22 July) at an address in Maybury Close, Frimley.
The victim, a woman in her 80s, received a telephone call from a man claiming to be a detective who said someone had used her card to buy two computers from Argos. He then asked her about her bank cards, to which the victim replied that her daughter dealt with her finances. The caller asked how far away her daughter lived, to which she replied ten minutes, and he hung up.
A further offence using the same approach was also reported yesterday (22 July) around 3-35pm at an address in Beech Road, Frimley Green. The caller identified himself as a detective to the 69-year-old male victim and said a suspect had been arrested for using his bank card and advised him to ring his bank. The victim refused to do this and the caller hung up.
On both occasions the caller spoke with a foreign accent.
Surrey Heath Borough Commander Detective Inspector Martin Goodwin said: “It is clearly very concerning that we have received these two reports and we are again urging residents to report any suspicious calls from people claiming to be a police officer or bank worker as a matter of urgency.
“Fortunately both victims realised the call was part of a scam and refused to pass on any bank details, such as PIN numbers, or allow their cards or cash to be taken.
“However, other victims have previously lost significant sums of money, in some cases savings which they had spent years accruing, as a result of this scam and we need the public to help us prevent this happening in the future.
“These offences are particularly appalling as the suspects appear to be deliberately targeting elderly and vulnerable members of our communities and this cannot, and will not, be tolerated.
“If you have elderly relatives or neighbours living in the county please remain alert and if you see them being approached by unexpected visitors please check who they are and ensure that they are a legitimate caller.
“I would like stress that these requests are not genuine and that no police officer or bank would operate in this manner and would never request a customer to confirm their PIN details over the phone. Anyone who receives a suspicious call, either on the phone or in person, is urged to not give any details to the caller and report the matter to the police.
“I would also like to hear from any courier companies or taxis that may have been asked to pick up any such packages.
“If in any doubt visit your bank in person to seek advice.”
People are reminded to protect themselves using the following advice:
• Never give out any personal information about your bank account to anybody over the phone.
• If someone calls claiming to be a police officer, ask for their identification number, police force and their telephone extension. Hang up the call, and advise that you will call them back using the 101 number.
• Use a different phone line to call back if possible, i.e a mobile phone if the call was received on your landline.
• If you have given out information which could compromise your bank account security in any way, call your bank up to cancel your cards as soon as possible.
• Never hand over money to someone at the door to be sent off elsewhere.
• If someone comes to your door claiming to be a police officer or staff member, always ask for identification and make note of their identification number.
If you have any details on any of the incidents please call 101, quoting reference 45140061230 or 45140061322. Alternatively please call independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.