How to verify a Police Officer
There have been a number of recent scams whereby people are posing, both on the telephone and in person, as police officers. This is so they can try and trick people into trusting them with personal information, in order to defraud them of money.
The below information is to make you aware of how to verify a police officer, in order to help protect yourself from criminals.
How we contact you
In the event a police officer needs to speak with you, they will identify themselves clearly. A police officer will only ever contact you for investigative purposes in person, by telephone, by email or by text message. Police officers do use text messaging and many of them operate social media accounts to advise and inform the public. Below is important information on how you should verify the communication you receive is from a genuine police officer.
Contact in person
An officer will identify themselves by showing you their warrant card. This is proof of their identity and authority. If you want to verify their identity, you can ask for their collar number and call 101 to check they are who they claim to be.
Contact via email
Official alerts on issues such as compromised accounts may be sent by email. However, official NYP emails will NEVER:
- Ask for remote access to your computer
- Ask you to click on a hyperlink in order to participate in an investigation
- Send you unsolicited emails with attached file, especially zip or macro enabled Microsoft Office files
- Ask you for any login credentials or passwords
Identification by telephone
If you’re contacted by telephone it’s obviously more difficult to verify a police officer’s identity.
There are a number of things however that a police officer would NEVER DO:
- Ask you for your bank details or PIN
- Ask you to transfer funds to another account
- Ask you to hand over cash or bank cards to a courier
- Ask you to pay a fine or a fee to them or a third party over the phone or online
- Ask you for access to your computer, passwords or log on details over the phone or online
- Ask you to register personal details in an attachment or website online
- Ask you to “assist” in an investigation by doing any of the above
- State that you are committing a crime by not complying
- Communicate in an abusive, threatening or coercive manner
If you’re in any doubt as to the identity of a police officer, please call our Force Control Room on 101.
We strongly recommend that after hanging up you wait for five minutes before calling either the police or our Control Centre. There have been cases of fraudsters keeping the line open after a victim had hung up. Leaving several minutes between calls will ensure that the call has closed.
- Suspect anything or anyone you don’t know – no matter what or who they claim to be
- Ask Whatever a fraudster tries, you have the power to stay in control
- Find out for certain who you are dealing with. Challenge anything that seems suspect
- End a situation if you feel uncomfortable. If you feel threatened call your local police on 101 or 999