Warning as bogus callers claiming to be police officers target elderly
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We are warning people to stay alert after fraudsters claiming to be police officers targeted elderly residents in the south of the county.
Detectives are investigating after a man in his 70s, from Cannock, fell victim to a scam on Monday (18 December) following a phone call from someone claiming to be a police officer.
The caller told the victim that his bank account had been compromised and persuaded him to transfer thousands of pounds from his savings account to his current account. They then convinced him to drive to a jewellery shop and purchase a quantity of gold.
The victim later contacted police to report the incident. The caller gave the victim a false name and collar number and told him not to tell anyone about his actions.
This comes after a woman in her 80s, from Stafford, was contacted on her landline in November by someone claiming to be a police officer. He told her that her bank card had been cloned.
The caller asked her to call 999 to verify their identity, but unknown to her they remained on the line during this call, and so falsely confirmed the details she gave.
The victim was persuaded to visit a bank to withdraw a large sum of money, which was then handed over to another person.
Two weeks later, a man in his 80s, from Cannock, was contacted on his landline by a man claiming to be a police officer. Again, the scammer told the man that his bank cards had been cloned.
Luckily, a family member was able to intervene before any money was taken.
Detective Sergeant Garry Jackson, from our financial investigations team, said: “We know fraudsters can sound like they're real. They are manipulative, sound professional, are very convincing and use all kinds of scenarios to make those they target believe they are genuine. They are able to gain a victim's trust very easily.
“People who fall foul of these scams are advised by fraudsters that they should not tell anyone about the calls as it may jeopardise an ongoing police investigation. This is why it is so important that we remind people of the few simple steps they can take to avoid being scammed in this way.”
Police or bank officials will never ask you to withdraw money from your account, buy anything, or give them your personal details or passwords
If you believe you are being targeted by a scammer hang up the phone and use a different phone line to call Action Fraud, or the police. Scammers have a way to stay on the line and will pretend to be the police when you call back.
Wait for a period of time and try calling a family member or friend first to make sure the scammer is no longer on the line.
Always be alert to suspicious phone calls and report them to Action Fraud, or the police.
If you think you or someone you know has been defrauded, you can report it to Action Fraud online, or by calling 0300 123 2040. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.