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Police are warning people to be on their guard after an elderly couple lost more than £20,000 to fraudsters this week.

The couple were called by the scammers, who claimed they were police officers from the Met investigating a criminal transaction.

Officers believe that other people in the county could now be targeted and are reminding family and friends to keep an eye on elderly and vulnerable loved ones.

In the latest scam, which took place on Wednesday afternoon (22 February), the couple were told to withdraw money from their bank accounts before arranging to pick it up through a 'courier'.

It followed a similar pattern to other fraud attempts around the UK, in which fraudsters claim to be police officers investigating corrupt staff at the victim's bank or fraudulent card activity.

They will often ask the victim to hang up and dial 999 to confirm they are speaking to a legitimate police officer. However, this is part of the scam as the phone line is kept open and the victim ends up talking to another fraudster who is also involved in the con. 

In this type of scam victims are asked to withdraw cash, which would then be collected by a fake police courier on the victim's doorstep, at another agreed location, or asked to send it to an address via post.

Others are instructed to transfer funds into a fake police bank account.

The fraudsters are manipulative, and victims are often told to not tell their friends or family about them "helping" with the investigation.

This type of scam is known as courier fraud, and the average age of a victim of this crime is 79.

Police have urged people to warn their elderly or vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours about this type of fraud. 

·       If you believe you are being targeted by a scammer hang up the phone and use a different phone line to call Action Fraud or the police, as scammers have a way to stay on the line and will pretend to be the police when you call back

·       If you don't have access to a different phone line, wait for a period of time, at least 10 minutes, and try calling a family member or friend first to make sure the scammer is no longer on the line

·       Neither police nor bank officials will ever ask you to withdraw money from your account, purchase anything or hand over your personal details or passwords

·       Just because someone knows basic details about you like your name, address or date of birth, it doesn't mean they are genuine bank or police employees

·       Always question suspicious phone calls and report them to Action Fraud or the police.

Fraud cases can be reported to Action Fraud online: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime. Anyone who finds themselves in immediate danger should call 999 as per any emergency. 

Victims of fraud looking for help can find more information on Victim Support's website: https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/crime-info/types-crime/fraud/

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Message Sent By
Keith Charman
(Police, Volunteer, Bodmin Sector)

Neighbourhood Alert Cyber Essentials