Fraudsters are banking on the vulnerability of elderly residents in Nottinghamshire to steal thousands of pounds.
A disturbing phone scam which saw 17 people fall victim to thieves last summer has re-emerged.
It is being carried out by organised crime gangs up and down the country who are estimated to have duped people into handing over around £12 million since 2011.
PC Chris Dover, of Nottinghamshire Police said: “This is a highly lucrative scam for these gangs. They are preying on vulnerable members of our communities and without conscience are stealing their money.
“By raising awareness of these gangs and their activities we want to frustrate their attempts to commit further crime and protect our vulnerable friends and neighbours.
Tactics used by the fraudsters follow a pattern.
Someone calls the victim claiming to be from their bank’s fraud team, however, they do not state the name of the bank. They convince the victim that they could help the fraud team root out a corrupt bank cashier by withdrawing a large amount of cash – often thousands of pounds at a time – from the bank.
The caller warns the victim not to tell anyone at the branch they make the withdrawal from as this will ruin the investigation.
When the money has been withdrawn the victim is told to meet with a courier either at their home address or another location. The victim is told the courier will then take the money to the police or other body to have it examined as potentially being counterfeit – this does not happen.
Police say the slightly altered tactics used last year are still in use:
The victim is called from someone saying they are a member of the fraud team from the victim’s bank, a police officer or a shop owner who says that the victim’s bank card has been discovered being used by a detained criminal. The suspect then asks the victim to hang up and call their bank, however, the suspect does not hang up the phone and leaves the line open. The victim dials the number for the bank but the suspect has remained on the other end of the phone and takes the call, convincing them that they are the bank’s fraud team. The victim is then asked to input their PIN number into the phone keypad which is captured by the suspect who is using a decoder which converts the keytones into the respective numbers.
The suspect then says that the card has been compromised and will need examining immediately.
A local taxi firm or one of the suspects is despatched to the victim’s address where they collect the card and deliver it to the suspect’s where it is used immediately.
Detectives say the average loss to a victim is £4,000.
PC Dover added: “Neither your bank or the police will ask you for your PIN or bank card. I would urge potential victims not part with any details. Leave the landline on the cradle for at least five minutes before attempting to make an outside call or test the line first by phoning a friend or relative. visit the local branch of your bank if you have any concerns about your account.”
“If there is a suspicion that this type of offence is underway please contact the police on 999.”