Phone scammers pretending to be police officers are targeting vulnerable people in Thanet

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Kent Police is urging people in Thanet to be vigilant following reports of courier fraud and suspicious calls in the area.

During October, officers received several reports of residents receiving calls from a person claiming to be a police officer. During the conversation the caller tried to convince them to hand over money which he said will be collected from their home addresses, or reveal details about their bank accounts.

Targeted

Calls were made to residents in Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Birchington.

On October 19 a call was made to a victim in Ramsgate.

Chief Inspector Rhiannan Pepper said: “The victim was told someone had been arrested for using her bank account, and now they needed her to withdraw a large sum of money from the bank, which they would arrange to collect from her address. She was told she was at risk of being arrested if she refused to do it.”

The victim was told she could hang up and phone 999 to ensure the call was genuine, but the caller kept the line open and then pretended to answer the 999 call.
When the victim said she would also check with her local police station, the caller disconnected.

Cash

On October 26 a similar call was made to another resident in Ramsgate, who withdrew cash as requested but then spoke to local PSCOs in person. They were able to offer advice and ensure no money was handed over and the resident was able to return home safely.

Ch Insp Pepper said: “In most of these reports of courier fraud, the residents have not confirmed or given out any personal details, and have challenged the caller, causing the call to end.

“But criminals who take part in this type of fraud will pick out the most vulnerable members of society, so we are asking people to think about their friends and family and their neighbours, and pass on this information to them so they are prepared should they get a scam call.”

Protect yourself against courier fraud

The police or your bank will never send a courier to your home to collect your bank card or other items and will never ask for cash, valuables, or your PIN.

If you receive one of these calls end it immediately without providing information.

If you wish to call your bank use a number known to you, not one provided by the caller. Call from another phone, or call a friend first to ensure the offenders have been disconnected from your line.

If you’ve handed over any personal bank details to the fraudster, call your bank and cancel your cards immediately.

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