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Elderly targeted by fraudsters posing as police
10:00am Monday 24th March 2014 in News
An elderly man in St Albans was conned into handing over cash to a fraudsters posing as police officers, Hertfordshire Constabulary has warned.
The force said the victim, who’s in his 80s, was snared after being called by someone claiming to be a fraud investigator.
The imposter told the pensioner he needed to withdraw a sum of money for an investigation and the money was later collected by a courier.
The constabulary has issued a warning to the public after receiving 104 reports of similar phone scams across Hertfordshire during March.
So far seven incidents have been recorded in St Albans, one in Harpenden, and, two in London Colney.
Police said in the Harpenden incident an imposter claimed to be a police officer investigating fraudulent activity but this was recognised as a scam and the call was ended.
In one of the London Colney scams a 70-year-old man was targeted by fraudsters who claimed to be from the victim’s bank. They managed to obtain the victim’s PIN numbers and then later collected his bank cards through a courier.
Detective Inspector Jason Keane, from Hertfordshire Constabulary, said: "Although these numbers seem very high, this may be caused by increasing numbers of people reporting incidents as more people become aware of the scam and they are alerting us when they are being targeted.
"We are continuing our robust approach in dealing with those who participate in phone scams, particularly when they target the vulnerable and elderly members of our community. Arrests are continuing to be made in connection with these types of scams, but people still need to be aware.
"Please remember the police and banks would never ask anyone over the phone to: Reveal their bank accounts details, including their PIN numbers, withdraw cash, or hand over any possessions, including cash or bank cards, to a stranger or courier.
Detective Inspector Daniel Lawrence, from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), added: "An ERSOU task force has now been set up to investigate this type of fraud and we have resources from across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk who will be targeting those who are the most vulnerable.
"Our aim is simple; we will identify, disrupt and dismantle organised crime groups across the eastern region making it a hostile place for organised crime to operate. To do this, we do need the public’s help.
"Anyone who receives calls that appear to be suspicious should contact the police via the non-emergency number 101. Please remember to use a mobile phone or wait until you hear the dialling tone before calling us as the other caller may not have cleared the line. I would urge people to contact us and not be embarrassed by what has happened.
"Offenders do appear to be targeting the vulnerable and elderly, so please share this information and advice with your elderly relatives and neighbours so they are aware."
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