New Forest residents urged to remain vigilant after spate of fraud scams
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We are urging residents in the New Forest area, and beyond, to remain vigilant following five reports of courier fraud since the start of September; including one reported incident which resulted in an elderly man being defrauded out of £143,000.
This type of fraud typically sees a victim receive an unexpected call from someone who purports to be a police officer, a staff member from their local bank, or an employee from an internet or phone provider. The most recent reports have involved people claiming to be police officers and IT experts from Microsoft.
They then tell the victim that their account has been subject to fraudulent activity and then request that the victim helps with the ongoing investigation, with this involving:
• Being asked for details about their financial accounts and bank cards • Being sent to their bank to withdraw money, or being asked to buy high value goods • Granting the caller access to their computer or phone, by downloading an application.
Victims are then told to hand over money or an expensive item to a fraudulent courier, who will typically come to their home to collect it.
They are also encouraged not to discuss this with any friends, family or bank staff.
The five reports of courier fraud in the New Forest recently have resulted in elderly victims losing thousands of pounds.
We are urging people not to engage with these type of calls. Victims are typically elderly, as in these cases, and we are asking anyone with an elderly relative, loved one, friend or associate to please make them aware of this type of scam.
The details from the most recent reports, below, highlight some of the things to be aware of.
On Tuesday 19 September, it was reported that a 78-year-old man had received a call informing him that he had been the victim of a financial investment, and had lost money due to it.
The suspect told the victim that he would be able to recover their money, but could only do so after the victim transferred a total of £143,000 over a period of four months. This money was then transferred via Binance – a cryptocurrency exchange service. The victim was also asked by the suspect to confirm their name and address.
Also on Tuesday 19 September, it was reported that an 84-year-old man had received a telephone call from someone purporting to be a police officer. The suspect told the victim that two of his grandchildren had been caught with a cloned credit card, and asked for his name, number and other personal details.
Some details were passed, before the suspect then ended the call. Although there was no financial loss on this occasion, the victim was worried about the personal information which they had passed to the suspect.
On Wednesday 20 September, it was reported that a 69-year-old woman had received a call from someone claiming to be from their bank’s fraud department. The suspect informed the victim of suspicious activity on her account and that accounts had been set up in her name.
The victim confirmed she hadn’t set up the accounts, before the suspect asked her to transfer money to their account in order to protect it. Two transactions were completed and more than £1,000 was lost
Finally, on Monday 4 September, it was reported that an 82-year-old woman had received a phone call from someone falsely claiming to be from Microsoft, stating that the victim’s computer was at risk and the issue needed to be fixed. The caller felt this was a genuine call, as they had been having some problems with their computer.
The victim was then asked to download Any Desk – a remote desktop application - which they did. This allowed the suspect to gain remote access to the victim’s computer. The victim was asked for their bank details, but quickly became suspicious and terminated the call. Although no money was lost on this occasion, the suspect did obtain the victim’s driving licence number.
Officers are making enquiries in relation to the incidents, as well as offering support and reassurance to the victims.
Please remember that:
• Police officers, banks and other organisations such as HMRC will never call people in this way and ask you to withdraw money or disclose personal or financial information. If someone does do this, please hang up – it will be a scam.
• If someone calls claiming to be a police officer, ask for their ID number and police force. Wait at least five minutes before verifying details with the appropriate Force by calling 101 – do not use any number they provide unless you can confirm it as genuine. Ensure the call has disconnected as scammers will often leave the line open or use another phone altogether. A genuine police officer will not mind waiting while you check their identity (it’s a sign that it is a scam if the person becomes pushy or stresses urgency).
• Take a step back from everything and take a few moments to think. Speak to a trusted friend or relative for their opinion before agreeing to anything. The fraudster’s tactic is often to keep the victim busy talking and isolated. They stress that they should not tell anyone else about the call.
• Your bank or the police will never send a courier to your home to collect cash, bank cards, PINs or other valuable goods.
• If you are a friend, relative or carer of someone you think might be vulnerable to this type of scam, please speak to them about this advice. You might be the only person who can stop them from being scammed.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, report it to us by calling 101. If a crime is in progress, dial 999.
You can make yourself aware of this type of scam and how to protect yourself by visiting the Action Fraud website (https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/) or by calling them on 0300 123 2040.
Please also take time to have a read through The Little Book of Big Scams; a useful resource that provides details of specific scam and fraud types – along with crime prevention advice.