'Be aware', say police warning of scam phone calls in Harpenden

'Be aware', say police warning of scam phone calls

'Be aware', say police warning of scam phone calls

First published in St Albans & Harpenden Review: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Police investigating a series of scam phone calls in Hertfordshire are renewing their appeal for people to be aware and issuing advice to potential victims.

Since the beginning of the year, police have received over 100 reports of suspicious phone calls since, with calls being made to residents across the county including Harpenden. The majority of people targeted are aged in their 70s, 80s and 90s.

Operation Policy is the investigation into the fraudulent phone calls which sees fraudsters calling people, pretending to be a police officer or from a bank, requesting bank details and bank cards.

Police have reported a change to the way fraudsters are operating, with victims also being told to withdraw large sums of money, often thousands of pounds. A courier is then sent to the victim’s house to collect the cash, or their card, which is later used to withdraw money.

A number of arrests have already been made and officers from Safer Neighbourhood Team have been working to educate residents, as well as working with local taxi companies, and partner organisations such as Hertfordshire Community Meals, to raise awareness of the crime.

Detective Inspector Jason Keane is leading Hertfordshire Constabulary’s response to this crime. He said: "Of these 100 calls, nine people have actually handed over their bank cards or cash, so most people are taking the correct action and saying no on the phone.

"However there are still people who have fallen for this scam, and the victims are deeply affected when they realise the call was not legitimate. It is so important that we make many people aware that this is taking place, and I would ask people to ensure their older relatives, neighbours and friends are aware.

"It could be your parent or grandparent targeted so we would ask that you remind them that police officers would not ask people to reveal their personal bank account details, including PIN numbers. And we would never ask someone to withdraw money."

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