Police issue warning on phone scam

28/05/2010 News'Scenesetter -Scarborough Police Station'102169b
28/05/2010 News'Scenesetter -Scarborough Police Station'102169b

Scarborough police are urging residents to be on their guard after reports of telephone scammers targeting people in the area.

Fortunately the police have managed to recover any funds the victims have been conned out of but are keen to avoid any further victims being targeted.

The elaborate scam begins with a phone call from someone claiming to be from a fraud prevention company, informing the victim that their bank account has been the subject of fraudulent activity.

The fraudster on the end of the phone instructs the victim to call the police and report the crime.

When the victim hangs up the person on the other end doesn’t and the line stays open.

When the victim picks up the phone to call the police, the fraudster is still on the line and poses as an officer.

He tells the victim that he is investigating their bank for fraud and instructs them to transfer all their money to another account which he gives details for.

In recent days, officers have received two reports of the fraudsters targeting people in Scarborough.

On 14 November a couple aged in their 60s and 70s were victims of the scam.

They transferred thousands of pounds of their savings but fortunately they quickly realised they had been conned and their money was recovered.

Another victim, a woman in her 80s, was targeted the following day but fortunately she was suspicious enough not to be caught out and reported the incident to her bank straight away.

Detective Constable Jonathan Sygrove, of Scarborough CID, said: “The people behind scams like this can be very convincing and I urge people to be careful.

“It is extremely rare that you get asked to transfer large sums of money over the phone and the police would never ask you to do this.

“If you are at all concerned about a telephone call asking you for your bank details, hang up, ensure that the line is clear and you have a dialing tone and contact the police on 101.

“Fortunately, we have managed to recover the money transferred in the recent incidents but in future we might not be as fortunate, so please be on your guard.”

Anyone who would like to report a telephone scam should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101.

Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

• For an interview with one of the victims see Thursday’s Scarborough News.