Police have issued a warning over a scam in which a fraudster pretends to be a police officer.
Officers believe the fraudsters target elderly people and call on landlines late at night or very early in the morning when the victim is in bed.
The caller claims a criminal has been arrested with a substantial sum of money on them and a list of names and addresses, including the victim’s.
The phoney officer then advises the victim to call their bank using a number on the back of their bank card. The victim hangs up but the caller does not and the call is not terminated.
As a result and without realising it, the victim starts talking to the fraudster again, thinking they have called their bank.
Following a conversation, the offender claims he will need to examine the victim’s bank card and will also need their PIN number as it might be compromised.
The caller says he will send a courier to collect the card before a smartly dressed man arrives at the victim’s home. The card is then taken and the PIN number used to withdraw cash.
There have been three recent incidents in Cambridgeshire and other offences in areas including London.
In all three incidents, the victim was elderly and officers believe vulnerable people are being targeted.
PC Vic Paterson said: “Two of the victims in Cambridgeshire lost about £300 and one realised something wasn’t right and refused to give her PIN number over the phone.
“My key message is that banks will never ask for your PIN number over the phone and you should never give it out. If you’re in doubt about anyone you are speaking to on the phone, hang up and ensure the line has been terminated before ringing back on an official number. You should never give any bank cards to anyone at your door, even if they say they are from your bank.”
The incidents are being investigated by Action Fraud, the national fraud and internet crime reporting centre.
To report an incident of fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 1232040.