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Telephone fraudsters scam elderly of money

Fraudsters can be very convincing, which is why Dorset Police is warning residents, particularly elderly people in the Poole area, of a telephone scam.

Officers from Poole Safer Neighbourhood Teams will be using a ‘pop up police station’ at Tesco, on Poole Road, in Branksome Park today, Friday 27 February 2015, to raise awareness about the current issue.

Local police constables and police community support officers will be offering crime prevention advice and giving out leaflets, which remind people never to give out their bank account details or pin number to anyone over the phone. They will be in the foyers of the supermarkets until 5pm.

A PCSO will also be available to speak to residents at Marks and Spencer in Westbourne.

Victims, most of whom are elderly, are being targeted by fraudsters. The perpetrators call the householder and purport to be from a legitimate organisation, such as a bank or police force. The fraudster sounds bona fide and on some occasions, persuades the victim to part with their savings.

Poole North Neighbourhood Inspector David Parr said: “This is a despicable crime, which is why we are trying to raise awareness and prevent potential victims falling foul of scams.

“Dorset Police has established a dedicated operation to tackle this fraud problem and we are linking in with other national operations to build a picture of who is preying on elderly and vulnerable people.

“A 24-year-old man was recently arrested in Poole and has now been released on bail as enquiries continue.

“However, I am confident that this scam is the work of more than one person, so we are continuing our efforts to raise awareness of the scam and prevent further losses occurring.” 

Detective Inspector Andy Roberts is the force lead for courier fraud, and has some tips on how to avoid losing money to fraudsters. He advised: “If someone contacts you on the phone and asks you for your bank account number and pin number, NEVER give them out.

“The police will never ask for your bank details over the phone and will never ask you to withdraw or transfer money for them.

“The fraudsters can lead people to believe they are genuine, but they are not.

“Anyone who suspects their caller is ringing them fraudulently, should put the phone down, wait for five minutes and check for a dial tone. Once the line is clear, dial 1471, write the number down and then call the police immediately, on 101.

“We need the public’s help to find out who the scammers are, so if you receive a call, please contact us, as every piece of information will help us to track these criminals down and bring them to justice.

“Being a victim of this fraud is nothing to be ashamed of, so please don’t hesitate to ring us if you suspect something untoward has happened.”

The Hang up on fraudsters poster can be downloaded here (1.3MB PDF)

Issued: 27 February 2015

telephone fraud poster