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Police are issuing advice to residents following a series of scam phone calls which have seen victims lose significant sums of money.
Since April 1, police have received 30 reports, mainly from people living in the St Albans, Watford and Hertsmere areas of the county.
In the vast majority of cases, victims have been contacted by someone purporting to work for the police (or sometimes the bank), claiming that their card or bank account has been used fraudulently.
The caller then asks the victim to assist with the ‘police investigation’ by withdrawing large sums of money and handing it over to a courier.
In some cases, victims have also been asked to purchase foreign currency and high value goods, such as designer watches.
Detective Constable Carmine Zanfardino, from the Constabulary’s Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, said: “Thankfully, many people recognise these scams for what they are and refuse to part with any money. However, there are occasions when people – particularly those who are elderly or vulnerable – do fall prey to the highly persuasive nature of these fraudsters and often lose thousands of pounds.
“The offenders try and gain trust by asking victims to dial another number, which they believe will put them through to a second police officer who will corroborate the story. In reality, the phone line is being held open and the victim is simply connected to another offender.
“I would like to stress that the police would never ask you to withdraw large sums of cash and hand it over to anyone.
“If you are suspicious of a call you receive, please hang up and report it to police. Remember to wait at least five minutes to ensure you aren’t reconnected to the offender. Please share this advice with relatives, friends and neighbours.”
If you think you may have been contacted in similar circumstances, please report this to police on the non-emergency number 101 or online at www.herts.police.uk/Report.
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