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Warning as thousands of pounds lost to scammer posing as police officer

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North Yorkshire residents targeted by telephone scam.

North Yorkshire Police is issuing a warning after reports of a telephone scammer who has conned victims out of thousands of pounds by posing as a police officer.

The scammer contacted his victims by phone, claiming to be a member of the police fraud team and warning them of security breaches with their bank. He then advised them to move money into a ‘safe’ account to protect it from fraudsters, as well as asking them to withdraw cash which was then collected by a courier.

The scammer also encouraged his victims to advise their friends about the alleged security breach so that they too could move their money and protect themselves, resulting in further substantial losses.

North Yorkshire Police was made aware of the incident when the victim’s bank notified officers under the Banking Protocol, an initiative which enables bank branch staff to request an immediate police priority response if they suspect a customer is being scammed.

North Yorkshire Police Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer, Andy Fox, explains more:

“This scammer has worked hard to build a relationship of perceived trust with his victims, keeping in regular contact to offer support and further advice about how to keep their money safe. By painting a very convincing picture of security breaches, he has warned victims not to trust anyone else including the police and family and as such has manipulated them into following his guidance.

“As we often see with these types of scams, the scammer has advised regular payments of smaller amounts in order that the scam might be less likely to raise suspicions but something we don’t often see is that he has also encouraged victims to put their friends in touch with him for help too.

“Everyone believes they won’t fall victim to a scammer but these individuals are experienced professionals who know every trick in the book to gain your trust so the best thing you can do is learn how to protect yourself.

A police officer will never get in touch and advise you to move, transfer or pay money and neither will a bank or building society. If you receive a call out of the blue offering money or security advice, be very suspicious and do not give the caller any personal or account details. Hang up and if they claim to be from a legitimate organisation, find the phone number for that organisation so you can call back from a different phone to verify their identity. If you are told to lie to anyone (bank, police family) to cover what you are doing it is most definitely a scam.

If you suspect you’ve been scammed, report it to the police by calling 101 and we will be able to support you as well as protecting others from falling victim to the same fraudsters.”

Last modified: June 25, 2020