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Gloucestershire Business News

People scammed out of thousands of pounds as police warn public to remain vigilant

Gloucestershire Constabulary is warning the public to be aware of a scam call where fraudsters claim to be police, after two people were conned out of thousands of pounds.

One incident was reported to police at around 12.30pm on Friday (21 August) after a woman in Cirencester had withdrawn thousands of pounds from her account and gave the cash to a fake courier.

The woman had been contacted by a man who claimed to be from Scotland Yard, telling her that her bank card had been used fraudulently.

She was then told her account was being used to 'clean' counterfeit bank notes and she was persuaded to withdraw the money and give it to a courier to put into a safe account.

She met the courier in her local area by a postbox where the cash was handed over.

In a separate but similar incident, a woman in Cheltenham was called by someone claiming to be PS Spencer from Scotland Yard.

She was told that someone had used her bank card to purchase a laptop from a high street store in London.

She was told that in order to keep her money safe she should take it out in cash.

They also told the woman to not tell her family.

She withdrew the cash and had been advised that when staff at the bank ask questions about what the money was for, to say "for garden and home renovations".

The fraudster then arranged for a courier to meet her at a postbox in her area who he said would take the money and put it in a safe account.

The woman was given a code word and a time to meet the fake courier at the local postbox. She attended and gave them the cash.

Kim Mowday, harm reduction advisor said: "Sadly this is a common and callous crime and the criminals are very convincing so people have to be on guard.

"Fraudsters often choose a dialling code and target one area with numerous phone calls for a number of days before moving on to another location.

"Anyone who receives a similar call should hang up the phone and not follow their instructions.

"Police would never ask you to withdraw money from an account or ask you to hand over passwords or PIN numbers."

More advice related to help stop you becoming a victim:

If you believe you are being targeted by a scammer hang up the phone and use a different phone line to call Action Fraud or the police, as scammers have a way to stay on the line and will pretend to be the police when you call back.

If you don't have access to a different phone line, wait for a period of time and try calling a family member or friend first to make sure the scammer is no longer on the line.

Just because someone knows basic details about you like your address or date of birth, it doesn't mean they are genuine bank or police employees.

Always question suspicious phone calls and report them to Action Fraud or the police.

Always have a pad and pen next to the phone, if you get a suspicious call, take details, don't get flustered, get names addresses and contact numbers. Then, disconnect the call. Walk away from the phone for at least five minutes and then contact Gloucestershire Constabulary on 999 to verify the details of the call.

If you think you or someone you know has been defrauded, you can report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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