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Public urged to be aware after fraud in Dorset

Detectives are asking the public to be vigilant and appeal for anyone with information to come forward after a number of incidents where people were targeted by fraudsters at their homes in Bournemouth – officers wanting to warn members of the public county wide.

Four phone scams have been reported to Dorset Police which involved the victim receiving a phone call from a person posing as a police officer. 

The victim is informed of a possible fraudulent transaction going out of their bank account and is advised to call the bank to report it. The scammers then hold the phone line open by not hanging up at their end. When the victim then phones the bank, they are still connected to the fraudster and divulge bank details to them.

In two of the cases, the victims were persuaded by the scammers to go to their local bank branch, withdraw a large sum of money and then wait for a courier to collect the cash. A taxi later arrived and took the money to a location in London.

The incidents happened on Monday 17 March 2014 – at addresses along Christchurch Road, Manor Road, Herbert Road and Weyman’s Avenue. 

Detective Constable Ben Singleton, of Bournemouth and Poole CID, said: “As a result of this scam, two victims handed over £6,000 and £8,000 respectively, believing they were assisting police in an operation to detect fraudsters.”

“In the two other incidents, the victims received calls in exactly the same circumstances but did not hand over any money.                                                                    

“I urge people to be wary of phone calls relating to their banking. Banks or the police will never ask for a PIN number or ask for money to be transferred in this manner.

“If you are in doubt about the origin of a call, check with your bank. Use a different phone to call the bank to ensure the line has been properly cleared. 

“Anyone who has become a victim of such an offence and has yet to report this should contact Dorset Police immediately on the non-emergency number 101.

“We’d urge people to dismiss any calls they receive like this and report them to police by calling Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.”

Witnesses and anyone with information should call Dorset Police in confidence on 101, quoting incident number 17:258. Alternatively, call the free and anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111 where mobile phone tariffs may apply.

Issued 19 March 2014