Beware, the phone scammers are back

Phone scam arrest
Phone scam arrest

Police are reissuing a warning to members of the public following an increase in the number of phone scams in July.

New figures show that a total of 39 people in Herts were targeted by the tricksters between the start of the month and Sunday.

Three of the 39 parted with their bank cards – two of them were men in their 80s and the third was a woman in her 50s.

The scammers target their victims by phoning them and pretending to be a police officer, then telling them that their bank account has been compromised. The victims – often elderly or vulnerable – are then convinced to part with their bank account details and a courier is organised to collect their bank cards. The cards are later used to withdraw money.

Two people in Hemel Hempstead were targeted under the scam – but neither parted with any of their personal information and promptly ended the call.

Seven people were arrested earlier this month in the third series of arrests in connection with phone scammers targeting Herts and nearby counties.

Four of them are due to appear before St Albans Crown Court on Friday, having been charged with conspiracy to defraud by false representation. In total 17 people have been arrested by police since April in a phone scamming crack-down.

Detective Inspector Jason Keane said: “More and more people are recognising the scams for what they are and rightly not parting with their personal and banking details.

“Whilst this is encouraging and arrests are continuing to be made, it is still vitally important for people to remain aware that scams are still operating right across the county.

“In the vast majority of cases the elderly and vulnerable are the ones who are targeted by the offenders. As this is the case, I would urge everyone to share the following advice with their relatives, friends and neighbours.

“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 or use a mobile or neighbour’s phone to ensure you’re not reconnected to the offender.”

For more advice about phone scams, click here