Fake police officers con thousands out of Norfolk victims

Fraudsters have been cold-calling people in Norfolk, claiming to be police officers to con their victims out of money.

Fraudsters have been cold-calling people in Norfolk, claiming to be police officers to con their victims out of money. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A Norfolk woman was conned out of more than £4,000 by a man posing as a police officer.

It happened on Tuesday, July 6, when the woman from West Winch answered a cold call from a man who claimed he was an officer.

She was coerced into believing she was helping an investigation into counterfeit money, and went to her bank to withdraw money after being asked to do so.

When she returned home, a 'courier' collected the cash and later phoned her back to confirm it was counterfeit.

One the same day, a man from Clenchwarton also received a call from someone who said they were from Hertfordshire Police and claimed they were investigating a theft from their bank account.

The victim withdrew £2,000 after initially being asked for £9,000 which would be collected the following day.

They were saved, however, by a family member who, after being told about the incident, immediately reported it to police. No money was handed over.

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Norfolk Police said they have seen a rise in such incidents, where cold-callers attempt to defraud victims of money by claiming to be from the police.

These scammers often claim the victim needs to withdraw a large sum of money in connection with an investigation.

Detective inspector Richard Weller of Swaffham CID is urging people to make their friends and relatives aware of the scam, especially those who are elderly or vulnerable.

He said: "This type of courier fraud is nothing new; suspects will often approach victims under the guise of a police officer, bank or government department, in an effort to win trust and encourage people to go along with the scam.

"They will often use a range of techniques and in these most recent incidents, cold callers claim to be police officers investigating bank account thefts and counterfeit money. These scammers can be really convincing, making the caller feel they are helping a genuine police investigation, compelling them to withdraw the money. Suspects will then arrange to collect the money from the victim.

"More often than not, we’re talking large sums of cash into the thousands which is ultimately people’s savings and funds they rely on.

"Police officers will never ask you to withdraw money, or send someone to collect money. We know scammers target the elderly and I would urge people to make their family members, friends and neighbours aware of this scam and the warning signs."

Further advice from the police includes:

  • Your bank or the police will NEVER ask for your PIN, bank card or bank account details over the phone – never give these details to anybody.
  • Neither the police nor the banks will send a courier to collect money from you.
  • Always request Photo ID and if unsure call the police.
  • If you're asked to telephone a bank, then always do it on a different phone to the one you were contacted on.
  • Fraudsters will keep the line open and have been known to play ringtones, hold music and a recorded message down the phone so the victim believes they are making a call to a legitimate number. Ensure you can hear a dialling tone before calling police or use a friend or neighbour's telephone instead.
  • Do not rush into complying to the scammers demands/requests.
  • If you have already given your bank details over the phone or handed your card details to a courier, call you bank straight away to cancel the card.

Anyone who has received a similar type of telephone call or has any information about these incidents should contact Norfolk Police on 101 quoting Operation Radium.

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

If you believe a crime is in progress, always call 999.

For further advice, visit: www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.

Join our Norfolk Crime Watch Facebook group for all the latest crime news in the county.