Warning over fraudsters pretending to be police

Police are urging residents to be cautious after three pensioners were called by scammers purporting to be police.

By David Sedgwick
Friday, 11th June 2021, 3:04 pm
Police issue warning over scammers pretending to be from Metropolitan Police.
Police issue warning over scammers pretending to be from Metropolitan Police.

On Jun 10, detectives received three reports of a ‘courier fraud’ style-scam in Northumberland where a man claimed to be an officer from the Metropolitan Police.

In the first two cases the man introduced himself as DC Hancock and in third case, DC Harper.

As part of the con, offenders try and dupe their vulnerable victims into believing they have already been defrauded and coerce them into sending money, bank cards and other valuable ‘evidence’ to ‘investigators’ via a courier.

In the first case, the victim withdrew £2,000 from his account before his bank, Santander, intervened to help, stopping him from sending any money and alerting police.

The second two victims, though calling the scammers ‘very convincing’, recognised the calls as scams and immediately contacted officers.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Woods, of Northumbria Police, said: “This type of fraud is particularly awful as it sees fraudsters deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable and preying on their fears.

“I would ask everyone to exercise caution when speaking to a cold-caller.

"These types of criminals can be extremely convincing and persistent and panic their victims into making quick decisions.

“Make sure if you are approached in this way, you not only hang up the phone, but make sure the line is clear before calling anyone else.”

He added: “Please take the time to talk to your loved ones about ‘courier fraud’ and help us reinforce the message that police will never ask anyone to withdraw cash, or send us anything via a courier.

“Remember, police officers or your bank will never ask you to hand over money, or transfer funds. If you receive a call like this do not interact with them – hang up and report it.”

Anyone who thinks they might have been a victim of courier fraud, or any other kind of fraud should contact Action Fraud immediately by calling 0300 123 2040, Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm or online via their website.

People can also contact police through its website by clicking on the ‘Report It’ icon or call 101.