A vigilant taxi driver foiled an attempt to defraud a 78-year-old man from Newmarket of £3,000 as police continue to raise awareness of, and warn residents about, scam tactics used by criminals.
At around 12pm yesterday, Wednesday 5 March, the victim received a call from a man purporting to be a police constable from Hammersmith in London. He told the victim that his bank card had been cloned and used to purchase a £7,000 watch.
The caller then informed the victim that his bank in Newmarket was subject to a fraud scam and they required his assistance in setting a trap which involved him withdrawing £3,000 in cash and then handing it over to a courier, who they would send to collect it from his home address.
The victim then challenged the caller and asked how he could verify that this request was not a scam in itself. The caller told him to hang up the phone and dial 999 to speak to his local police station, which he duly did.
He then spoke to someone claiming to be a sergeant at Newmarket police station who stated that the request was genuine. However, the victim was still not satisfied and called the number on the back of his bank card, where again he was told everything was ok.
After making a further call to what he believed was his local police station to confirm one more time this was legitimate, the victim then phoned the original caller back and said he would assist them.
After going into town to withdraw the cash, a taxi arrived at his house at around 1.30pm to collect the money. The victim told the driver that the parcel was to be delivered to an address in London which the driver confirmed.
Upon leaving the victim's address, the taxi driver became concerned that this might be a scam and flagged down a passing police car to inform them of his suspicions. The officers confirmed this was indeed a scam attempt and recovered the money, returning it to the victim.
In carrying out scams such as this, it is thought that the offenders leave the telephone line open, so when the victims believe they have hung up to make another call to either the police or their bank, they are in fact still on the line to the criminals who made the original call.
Anyone with information about this crime, or any similar incidents, is asked to contact DC Ian Webb at Bury St Edmunds CID on 101, quoting reference number NE/14/391, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Officers are urging residents to be extremely careful when dealing with any unknown callers and to NEVER to give out personal information or to hand over cards or money in these circumstances.
Please remember the following, and please alert older family members and friends to the tricks the scammers can use -
• Your bank or the police will never ask for your PIN, bank card or bank account details over the phone - never give these details out.
• The police will never call you and ask you to withdraw money from your account, and will never ask you to handover bank cards, to give to a courier or taxi driver, regardless of how convincing the caller may seem.
• If you receive such a call leave the landline for at least five minutes to make an outside call. Fraudsters will keep the line open and have been known to play ring tones, hold music and a recorded message down the phone so the victim believes they are making a call to a legitimate number.
• Use a friend's or neighbour's telephone instead.
• Friends, family, carers and neighbours are asked to spread the word to ensure everyone is aware of this scam and not to give out personal details.
Police Direct Team
Warning on scam telephone calls
Police are urging residents not to give out personal banking information and never to hand over bank cards after two scams were reported to officers within minutes on Tuesday March 4th.
Police were contacted by a man in Ipswich who said that in the past hour he and several family members had been conned out of thousands of pounds.
The householder had taken a call from someone claiming to work for a bank who advised that someone had tried to take money from his account. The householder called a number that was supposedly for his bank and gave details of everyone in the family who banked online, including their passwords.
Just two minutes later police took another call from a 93-year-old woman who reported that about 8pm she had taken a call from a man claiming to be a police officer at Holborn in London, who told her to ring the number on her bank card. She did this and was told that someone was coming to collect her bank cards. A foreign male then arrived at her address and she handed the cards over.
Police are currently speaking with both victims and are making enquiries.