Warning after several reports in East Cambridgeshire of criminals impersonating police officers to steal cash


- Credit: Archant

People are warned to be vigilant of criminals impersonating police officers to con them out of large sums of cash.

The warning comes after two incidents were reported to Cambridgeshire Police of criminals calling the victim claiming they are investigating a fraud on their bank account and have arrested someone.

The victim is asked for their account information, to ‘key in’ their PIN number or withdraw money from the bank and pass it on to a courier.

Police would never ask for someone’s bank details or to withdraw money and send it to them via a courier or any other means.

Explaining the con, crime redcution officer Sue Loaker, based at Ely Police Station, said: The offender calls the victim, purporting to be a police officer, and tells them they are investigating a fraud on their bank account and have someone arrested.

“They might also claim to be from the victim’s bank, again stating they are investigating fraudulent activity on their account.

“The offender asks for account information, including card, security and PIN numbers. Sometimes the offenders will ask victims to ‘key in’ their PIN number into the phone – the number is then captured by the offenders.

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“They may also ask the victim to withdraw a large sum of cash from their bank or building society.

“If they make this request they will explain that the money is required as it needs to be forensically examined. They also instruct the victim not to tell the bank why they are withdrawing the money, giving the reason that the bank might be involved in the fraud.

“The victim is then instructed to put the bank cards and/or money into an envelope and give them to a courier or taxi, which is sent to the house by the offenders to collect the items. If bank cards are collected they will be later used by the offenders to withdraw money.

“In some cases the victim might become suspicious and doubt the validity of what the caller is saying. If this happens, the offender will suggest they call the police via 999 or 101 or contact their bank in order that the victim can confirm the caller’s identity.

“However, what the victim doesn’t realise is that the caller hasn’t hung up so the line remains open, even if the victim hangs up, so the victim is put straight back through to the offender who will then pretend to be another person.

“This ‘new’ person will then validate the original caller’s claims.”

What should you do if you get a call?

If you receive a call you’re not expecting, you should be suspicious. The vital things to remember are that your bank and the police would:

NEVER ask for your bank account details or PIN number over the phone, so do not disclose these to anyone, no matter who they claim to be.

NEVER ask you to withdraw money and send it to them via a courier, taxi or by any other means.

NEVER ask you to send your bank cards, or any other personal property, to them via courier, taxi or by any other means.

If you are not happy with a phone call and are suspicious of the conversation you have with the caller then please end the call and contact police via the non-emergency number, 101.

Remember, when reporting a suspicious phone call to police, wait at least five minutes before attempting to make the call to ensure you’re not reconnected to the offender.

Alternatively, use a mobile phone or a neighbour’s phone or test your land line by phoning a friend or relative first, to ensure you aren’t still unwittingly connected to the offender.

If you have concerns about your bank account, visit your local branch.