Police warning over telephone fraudsters

Police crackdown
Police crackdown

Police are warning people in Crawley to beware of fraudsters who are thought to be targeting vulnerable members of the community.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said the fraudsters telephone a victim claiming to work for another police force and saying that they have arrested someone in their area for trying to access the victim’s bank account.

They persuade the victim to call their local police to report it, but do not put the phone down, meaning that the line doesn’t clear.

They or another person then pose as a police call handler, leading the victim to believe that their call is being dealt with by the genuine police.

The victim is told that the officer who had called him was genuine and that he should call his bank.

Again the person on the other end of the line does not end the call, this time posing as a member of staff at the bank and taking down the victim’s account details and pin number.

A fake courier is then sent to the victim’s address to collect the surrendered bank card giving the crooks full access to the unsuspecting victim’s account.

Several hundreds of pounds were withdrawn from a Brighton pensioner’s account in a similar scam earlier this week.

Chief Inspector Justina Beeken, from Crawley police, said: “This is a slick and well-planned crime where the victims are often targeted because of their vulnerability.

“There may be people who have already been fooled into providing their card and details but who have either not realised money has been stolen from them or have been too embarrassed to report it.

“Please do call Sussex Police on 101 if you think you have been contacted by one of these fraudsters, whether or not you have given them your details or not.

“Your call will be treated in complete confidence. This warning is aimed across the county and not just Crawley as it seems the offenders are operating across Sussex.

“Please pass this on to any of your family, friends or neighbours who you think might be at risk.

“Under no circumstances would the police or your bank request your PIN number over the phone or arrange collection of your bank cards from your home address.

“If you have any suspicions do not use the phone you have been called on to contact the police or a bank. Instead use a separate phone to contact a friend or relative and alert them.”