Phone fraudster call captured by local pensioner
A recording of a telephone conversation between a criminal and his victim has been released to the public to make people aware of how fraudsters are trying to con the elderly out of thousands of pounds.
In 2014, a 68-year-old woman from Dorset recorded a telephone call she had received from someone pretending to be a policeman.
She was told that her account had been compromised and she needed to call 999 to ensure the call was genuine.
In fact, the caller was a criminal, and he was going to keep the line open and then ask for her bank details so he and his accomplice could steal her money.
The victim realised there was something amiss, so she rang her son, Stuart Granger, a serving Fire Officer at Dorset Fire and Rescue, to tell him about the suspicious call.
Mr Granger advised his mother not to give any details out as it sounded like a scam. He said: “My mother was taken in by the fraudsters, particularly when they confirmed her name, address and telephone number.
“However, when they asked her to hang up and then dial 999, she became suspicious - but only because she knows that 999 is for real emergencies, not for something to do with her banking, which can be reported on the police non emergency number, 101.
“Fortunately, she decided to record the conversation as it happened and she was one of the lucky ones who never lost any money.
“Please listen and share this recording. Play it to your family, friends and neighbours to understand how the fraud works, so that you do not become a victim yourselves.
“Let's stamp out this heartless fraud altogether.”
This scam– known as courier fraud or telephone fraud – is happening nationwide.
The fraudsters pretend they are from the police, a bank, retailer or fraud department and tell their usually elderly and vulnerable victim that their account has been compromised and to dial 999 or their bank to confirm the call is genuine.
They keep the line open and use different techniques into tricking their victim that they’re genuine and persuade them into handing over their bank details, Personal identification Number (PIN) or cash for safe keeping.
Dorset residents have lost over £350,000 in 2015 and over £1 million since March 2014.
Last month, police received 167 reports of telephone fraud, with 16 victims losing a combined total of £250,000. Police have received 152 reports this month (up to 28 April) with five losses totalling £43,000.
DCI Jez Noyce said: “I would like to thank everybody who has reported this telephone fraud to us, as every call helps us piece together the jigsaw of who’s committing this horrendous crime which is devastating for victims.
“We still need members of the community to be vigilant and look after their friends, family and neighbours, by reminding them never to give out bank details over the phone and to hang up on fraudsters if they call.
“This partnership work is helping to make the community aware of this type of fraud, and I am grateful for the support from agencies, in particular Dorset Fire and Rescue for assisting with the crime prevention work, including the production of the video.”
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill added: “The force are working hard to catch those committing these offences, but it is only with the help of the public that we can tackle the problem.
“If you have a family member or someone in your friendship circle who is vulnerable to this type of crime, please speak to them, please alert them, please help protect them."
Two men from London, aged 21 and 22 years are currently on police bail after being arrested last week on suspicion of fraud offences.
Police Advisory Guidelines:
- The police, bank or retailer will NEVER call you asking for your bank details
- NEVER give out your bank details or Personal Identification Number (PIN) over the phone
- NEVER send money or cash cards via taxi or courier
- If you receive a suspicious call, hang up, wait five minutes (or use a different phone), dial 1471 and then call the police immediately on 101
Awareness days for the community are being held in Dorchester and Christchurch on 6 May 2015. Dorset Police, Trading Standards and staff from Barclays bank and NatWest branches are educating the public on how to bank safely and avoid becoming a victim of fraud.
Anyone can attend the free events, which can be booked by visiting the Barclays Dorchester branch or the NatWest branch in Christchurch.
Issued: 30 April 2015