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Telephone fraudsters target Stratford residents

Police are urging the public to trust their instincts following attempts by telephone fraudsters to scam residents in the Stratford area.

The callers, who claim to be from the police or trusted companies, have targeted residents over the past week.

The first incident occurred when a woman in her 80s was called by a male purporting to be DC Roger from the Fraud Team on Tuesday 24 April 2018.

He stated her card had been used at Argos for £900 and told her if she didn't believe him to call 161 and speak with his boss Mr Fletcher.

She did this and he confirmed everything that 'DC Roger' had said. She was asked for various account details and then told to go and withdraw 4500 in euros and to keep the phone live whilst doing this.

Although the fraudsters were very convincing, the woman trusted her instincts and called her daughter who met her at the Post Office. The woman did not have all the information she needed to withdraw the money and when her daughter questioned her she handed her the phone and the fraudster hung up. No money was stolen.

The Post Office said another lady had come in earlier on the 24 April also reporting that she had had a call from DC Roger and to call 161 to confirm this. She was not asked for any money or bank account details other than where she banked and no money was stolen.

In another incident, at 3.40pm on 24 April a woman in her 90's received a call from a man saying he was Detective Jones from Scotland Yard. He told her her bank account had been emptied. She did not give the fraudster any information about her account and no money was taken.

Not all scammers claim to be from the police and over the weekend a male was called twice by a fraudster claiming to be from BT Openreach to arrange a telephone appointment for Monday 23 April.

On Monday the fraudster called and told him that his router was slow and the male agreed to give them access to his computer. They offered him a refund of £204 and he gave his bank details.

He also provided a copy of his driving licence and passport via his scanner. They said a new router would arrive on Tuesday 24 April and it didn't. The fraudsters also set up a bitcoin account and a Weston Union account for him and attempted to take money but fortunately his bank stopped it and no money was stolen. He has since contacted his bank to change his bank details and contacted Action Fraud.

DI Emma Wright, Head of Warwickshire Police Economic Crime Unit, said "Don't trust anyone who calls you about your bank details. Always hang up and wait 10 minutes to ensure the call has disconnected before making another call. If you want to check they are legitimate, find their number via directory enquiries and call them back. If they are genuine, you should be able to get through to them. You can also check what they are saying is true with your bank.

"We are doing a lot to tackle these scams including working with other agencies and an increasing number of bank staff are trained to spot the signs of a scam and raise the alarm (see www.westmercia.police.uk/article/41676/Police-banks-and-Trading-Standards-unite-in-Warwickshire-and-West-Mercia-stopping-over-167000-of-fraud).

"We are asking the public to talk to people, particularly elderly relatives or neighbours and to tell them about these cases and ask them not to trust anyone who asks them for their bank details."

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