Neighbourhood Watch – Crime News & Advice
Police are reminding Sussex residents, especially the elderly, to stay on the alert for bogus phone calls and visitors after a number of cases over the last month.
In each case residents have received phone calls from someone purporting to be from their bank or from the Metropolitan Police, either saying that there were problems with their credit or debit card accounts or that they were investigating a case of fraud.
In some cases, the caller has claimed to come from Barclays Bank asking if the victim banks with them. When this is confirmed, they are asked to phone customer service with the number on the rear of their card, but the phone is not disconnected, a second person ‘answers’ and the victim is fooled into believing that they are talking to their bank, being persuaded to reveal PIN verification and other details and ultimately handing over their bank cards to a false courier. Thousands of pounds have been withdrawn in Worthing, Shoreham and Hove recently.
A similar fraud is carried out by a caller claiming to be from the Met Police, most often a PC Anthony Reynolds from Hammersmith police station. He persuades the victim to visit their bank, withdraw large sums of cash, which are then placed in a carrier bag for collection in order to be paid into a ‘secure’ account. Sadly, the victims have little hope of seeing their money, often a significant portion of their savings, again.
The most common type of fraud affecting older residents in Sussex is “advance fee” fraud, where fraudsters persuade victims to make advance or upfront payments for goods or financial gains that do not then materialise. Beware of anyone asking for money in advance. For example, fraudsters may claim that you are entitled to PPI compensation or that you are to inherit money from a relative, but you need to pay legal or administrative fees first. Genuine firms don’t ask for this, it is likely to be a scam.
If you’ve already been a fraud victim, beware that fraudsters may pretend to be lawyers or police claiming they can help recover your money.
To protect yourself:
- Be sceptical of callers, even those who claim to be officials.
- Don’t be afraid to put the phone down with a brief ‘No, thank you’.
- NEVER give personal information, such as your date of birth or bank details, to unexpected callers.
- NEVER allow an unexpected caller to talk you through processes on your computer, like downloading new software or accessing your online bank account.
- Remember that the police or your bank would NEVER unexpectedly call you and ask you to withdraw cash or move your money to another account, as a result of fraud or any other reason.
- If callers suggest you call your local police or bank to check who they are, use another phone or ensure the line has been fully disconnected by phoning a friend or relative first, or by waiting at least 3 minutes, otherwise you may think you’ve phoned a number, but you’re simply talking to the fraudsters again. This is a common fraudsters’ tactic.
- If a caller asks you to type your bank PIN number into your telephone handset – do not do this, as fraudsters can use technology to identify the numbers.
If you have information about any crime call 101, email: email@example.com or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
If you see a crime taking place call 999.
Regards, Priscilla Pinkham