Scam callers target elderly and vulnerable victims in St Albans and Hertsmere
- Credit: Archant
Victims living in St Albans, Hertsmere and Watford have been conned by scam callers into giving away significant amounts of money.
Since April 1 police have received 30 reports of scams, where in the majority of cases victims were contacted by someone claiming to work for the police or the bank and told that their card or bank account had been used fradulently.
The caller then asked victims to assist with the ‘police investigation’ by withdrawing large sums of money and handing them over to a courier.
In some cases, victims were also asked to buy foreign currency and high-value goods, such as designer watches.
Det Con Carmine Zanfardino, from Herts Police’s Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, said: “Thankfully, many people recognise these scams for what they are and refuse to part with any money.
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“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.
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“I would like to stress that the police would never ask you to withdraw large sums of cash and hand it over to anyone. Similarly, they would never ask you to purchase high-value goods.
“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 also share this advice with older or more vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours.”
Anyone who thinks they have been contacted in similar circumstances should report this to police on the non-emergency number 101 or online at www.herts.police.uk/Report.