Police have issued a warning about a sophisticated new phone scam in which the victim is targeted with a call from a loved one's number.
Authorities have issued a warning over the sophisticated “number spoofing” phone scam, in which fraudsters call a person from their partner’s phone to claim they have been in a serious accident and require expensive emergency surgery.
Police highlighted a case in North Yorkshire where a man received a call which appeared to be from his wife’s mobile phone.
The victim spoke to a man with a “foreign sounding accent [who] introduced himself as a doctor from the Friarage Hospital, stating his wife had been in a car accident and required emergency surgery which was not covered by the NHS.
The caller requested bank details to make a transfer of £300 to cover the surgery at the hospital in Northallerton.
The police warning added: “The reportee has replied by stating he would make his way to the hospital immediately and so the caller has hung up.
“He has then called his wife’s number back, who answered fit and well.”
The scam seems to be widespread, as other reported cases have seen fraudsters pretend to be doctors calling from hospitals in South Shields and Bristol.
The incident has been referred to Action Fraud and the police's economic crime unit for further investigation, as the perpetrators appear to be using sophisticated methods to link two mobile numbers together, to make their scam work.
“This incident has been distressing for the parties involved, but luckily no bank details were given out,” the police statement added.
"Please make friends and relatives aware of this incident, especially the more vulnerable.”
A spokesperson for Action Fraud said this type of scam is known as “number spoofing”, where fraudsters clone the number of the organisation or person they want to impersonate and then make it appear on the victim’s caller ID display when they phone them.
“The fraudsters will then gain the person’s trust by highlighting the number to them, claiming that this is proof of their identity, before trying to scam them in various ways.
“Never assume that someone is who they say they are just because their number matches that of an organisation or person you know. If someone tries to draw your attention to the number on your caller ID display, you should immediately become suspicious.
“If you think you have been a victim of fraud, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040."