CONMEN posing as police officers have been targeting residents in Sunderland.
Detectives are investigating two incidents in which people received a call from someone pretending to be a police officer who tells the victim their bank account is at risk of being hacked and their money stolen.
Victims are told to contact their bank and withdraw all money from the account as soon as possible and that a police officer will come to their house, collect it and take statements.
The fake officer then tells the victim to hang up and ring the local police to confirm that the story was genuine.
The victim ends the call, thinking they have hung up on the ‘officer’ but the offender keeps the line open and the call going.
The victim then dials their local police and thinks they are speaking to the force, when in fact they are still talking with the fraudster, who falsely confirms the bank account is at risk and the ‘officer’ is genuine.
They then arrange a date and time for an ‘officer’ to come and pick the cash up and take a statement.
One victim did hand money over but the second became suspicious and contacted police in time.
Police are urging people to be on their guard and to take steps to avoid becoming a victim:
*Be aware that fraudsters often use techniques to hold your phone line open, so that when you try to dial out to verify the caller, they intercept and re-answer the call, claiming to be the bank or law enforcement;
*To ensure your phone has not been compromised, use a different phone line to verify the caller. Where a second line is not available, try calling a family or friend on the line first, as a fraudster will find it difficult to impersonate a voice known to you.
*Never disclose your PIN or online/telephone banking log-in information or card reader codes to anyone, even if the caller claims to be from the bank or police. Remember, banks never call and ask you to disclose these security details;
*If you receive a call requesting your PIN, card details or online / telephone banking log-in information, end the call immediately;
*If you receive a suspicious or unexpected call, always verify the caller by taking their phone number and getting it checked independently.
*Ensure elderly relatives and neighbours are aware of the fraud and crime prevention advice.