Police warn over fraud scams

February 28 2020

POLICE are asking people with vulnerable family and neighbours to make them aware of two recent telephone scams which have left people being conned out of thousands of pounds.

The first involves involves a fraudster claiming to be from online retailer Amazon. 

The bogus official called the victims on their landline saying they were from Amazon and querying either an issue with a payment or a problem with the victim’s Prime membership. 

Police say they are aware of three incidents in the Avon and Somerset force area – two of the victims have lost a combined total of almost £15,000. 

A police spokesperson said: “During the call a pre-recorded message invites the victim to press 1 on their phone to link to an operator. A long conversation follows in which the victim is asked to re-connect to the caller via a computer or mobile device and then allow Amazon to link to their account. 

“While they continue to talk to the victim, they ask them to log on to their online banking via the remote device to check whether a refund has been made to their bank. 

“The caller talks to the victim, distracting them from looking at their device, while money is quickly transferred from their bank, or even an application for a loan made while the banking session is open.”

Police say if anyone is suspicious or uncomfortable about a call, they should finish it immediately and call the company who claimed to call you, using their official number and a different phone.

“Our message is – don’t discuss your finances with anyone who calls you out of the blue, even if they claim to be a police officer or a representative from a bank fraud department or even a well-known company.

“If you know someone who may be vulnerable to this type of offence, please speak to them and share our crime prevention tips and remind them of the threat from telephone fraudsters.”

The second scam is particularly targeted at elderly people and involves fraudsters posing as police officers claiming that the victim’s grandson had been arrested for using a cloned copy of their bank card, encouraging the victim to confirm their bank card details.

In another call they claimed that there was a major investigation into the victim's bank and local post office, involving counterfeit money. The victim was asked to support the investigation by withdrawing cash and checking the serial numbers of the notes. They claimed it was fake cash and said a courier would be sent to collect the counterfeit notes for forensic examination. 

In a third incident the potential victim thwarted the scammer by stopping the phone call.

Beat manager PC Huw Williams said: “We want people to be vigilant and on their guard against telephone fraudsters. One person was scammed out of £5,000 by the heartless fraudsters but two people thwarted the scammers by cutting the callers off. 

“Neither the police nor the banks will ask you for banking details or PIN numbers on the phone. Similarly, they would never send a so-called ‘courier’ to collect bank cards or money.”

If you believe you have been scammed by a telephone caller, please contact police on 101, quoting reference 5219299839.