Police issue warning over ‘phishing’ phone scam

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POLICE are warning people in Sunderland not to give out bank details over the phone after a number of reports of phishing scams.

Fraudsters are contacting people at home and asking them to transfer large amounts of money from their own bank accounts to an additional account for safe keeping.

We want to make it clear that anyone who calls claiming to be from a bank and asking people for bank details or to make a transfer or such a request is clearly a fraudster.

Chief Inspector Neil Robson

Chief Inspector Neil Robson, of Northumbria Police, is encouraging all neighbours, family members, friends and carers to look after their loved-ones and report any suspicious calls or incidents to the police.

He said: “A bank would never contact a member of the public in this way and ask them to transfer cash.

“We want to make it clear that anyone who calls claiming to be from a bank and asking people for bank details or to make a transfer or such a request is clearly a fraudster.

“Anyone who receives such a call should put the phone down and contact the police straightaway, preferably using another phone.”

Conmen are using a number of ways to try to scam money out of people and are particularly focusing on the elderly and vulnerable.

This is a scam affecting residents on a national level and involves fraudsters intercepting phone lines, holding open lines and posing as bank authorities to con residents out of money.

Police are issuing five key tips for staying safe against bogus callers:

1) Always be on your guard if you receive a cold call and are asked for personal or financial information, or to hand over your card or cash to someone.

2) The bank or the police will never tell you to take such actions, so if you’re asked it can only be a criminal attack.

3) Fraudsters may ask consumers to hang up and phone back, in a bid to win confidence. But this is a trick where the receiver is not put down at their end, leaving the line open, allowing the fraudster to simply restart the conservation when the consumer thinks a new call has been made.

4) If suspicious, wait a full five minutes before attempting to make a call. After five minutes has passed, try to call a friend or family member first to make sure the line is free, or use a second phone where available.

5) Never give out your four-digit PIN over the phone, even if you believe you are talking to a genuine police officer or bank personnel.

If you receive a call asking for personal or financial information, don’t be afraid to tell the caller you will call the police to verify their identity. A genuine caller will not mind waiting while you carry out security checks with the police.

Enquiries into such incidents are ongoing and anyone with information about the crimes, or who may have concerns about bogus callers, is asked to contact Police on 101 ext 69191, quoting reference ‘Op Strongbow’.