Wiltshire Police are urging people to be vigilant following a report of fraud involving an elderly couple in Swindon.
On 17 August, the couple – aged 79 and 82 – received a call from somebody claiming to be a police officer.
He gave credible details and advised that someone had been arrested following fraudulent use of the couple’s bank card. He asked them to attend their bank and withdraw all their money and said they would be met by officers at the bank. He gave them a number to call for direct access to the police – 161. He then pretended to hang up, so when 161 is entered, another person confirms details of the fraudulent usage of the card and details of the bank they need to attend.
The couple became suspicious so attended the police station and were told it was a fraud.
PC Kevin Payne said: “Enquiries are ongoing into this incident, and fortunately, no money was actually drawn out but potentially there could have been a loss of several thousand pounds for this couple, had they not reported it to police when they did.
“I’d like to remind the public to be cautious when receiving calls from banks or other institutions. Banks and the police will never ask for bank details over the phone, nor will they ask for passwords or PIN numbers. Never agree to meet anyone at a bank and be wary when asked to withdraw large sums of money.”
PC Sarah Young, Cyber Crime Prevention Officer, said: “This is commonly known as courier fraud and is a ‘social engineering’ scam designed to trick you into disclosing personal information to defraud you or steal your identity. The scammers do this by enticing you to click on a link or an attachment – (‘Phishing’) or phone you purporting to be from the police or a bank (‘Vishing’- voice call fraud), using elaborate and highly convincing methods to panic a victim and exploit human nature.
“The police and banks will never ask you to disclose passwords, PIN numbers, hand over your bank cards or withdraw or transfer money elsewhere.
“If someone does call you requesting personal information, please do the following:
– Say “OK thanks, I’ll call you back” and ring your bank using the number on the back of your bank card or on your statement.
– NEVER use a number given by the caller
– DO NOT confirm or provide personal information over the phone to someone that has called you. (Bank account/ card details, passwords, ID’s)
– Use a different phone to ensure fraudster has not ‘held’ the line open, OR phone a friend, to hear a familiar voice and know line is clear.
“If the caller claims they are a police officer or police staff, ring the police on 101 and check the details first. Take time to check as it could save you losing money or having your identity stolen.
“If you receive a call of this nature, please record as much detail as possible and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via the online reporting tool www.actionfraud.police.uk.”