Yet more of Hertfordshire’s elderly and vulnerable are being targeted in a phone scam which has once again reared its ugly head.
Police are re-issuing a warning to people in the county as fraudsters continue to target people over the phone in an attempt swindle their cash.
This month alone, a total of 39 people in the county have fallen victim to the scheme so far. Although just two of these – women in their 70s from St Albans and Hitchin respectively – have actually parted with any money, they have lost their life savings to the cruel crooks.
The con-artists work by claiming to be a police officer or bank official, telling their victims their bank accounts have been compromised and that they need to confirm some security details.
Under this guise, the fraudsters try and persuade people to part with their PIN numbers. They will then persuade the victims to send them their bank cards via a courier, and the cards are later used to withdraw cash.
In other incidents, the fraudsters persuade the unsuspecting victims to withdraw very large amounts of money and send it to them via a courier or taxi so that it can be ‘examined forensically’.
Det Insp Jason Keane said: “I would like to make it absolutely clear to everyone that the police and banks would never ask you for your PIN or ask you to send them your bank cards and/or money via a courier or any other means.
“Disgracefully, it appears that the vast majority of people targeted are the elderly and vulnerable. For this reason I am appealing to every person in Hertfordshire to not only follow our advice but also share it with their relatives, friends and neighbours, particularly if they’re elderly.
“I would like to reassure the public that we are making every effort to find those responsible and, encouragingly, most people are recognising the calls as scams, but we still need the public to be aware.
“These fraudsters are very convincing and anyone could be taken in by their story so please ensure you follow our advice.”
If you receive a suspicious call, hang up the phone at wait five minutes – or use a mobile or friend’s phone – to call police on the non-emergency number 101.
For more information about phone scams and how to avoid becoming a victim, visit www.herts.police.uk/PhoneScams.