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Gloucestershire Business News

Warning after fraudsters target elderly residents with courier fraud scam

Gloucestershire Constabulary is warning residents to be alert following reports of scammers targeting residents in Gloucester, Churchdown and Tetbury with fraudulent phone calls over recent days.

Police have received seven reports of scam calls since last Thursday (29 October) where scammers have pretended to be police officers from Hammersmith Police or Scotland Yard before convincing their elderly victims to withdraw and hand over sums of money.

The scammers enticed victims into handing over money after telling them that someone had been arrested in possession of a cloned copy of their bank card and that the money should be transferred so that it can be kept safe.

The victim was told to call 161 or another false number to get a crime reference number before being transferred back to the scammer. Money was withdrawn and handed over to a courier on three occasions with the victims losing out on a combined total of £18,500.

Due to elderly people being targeted as part of this series we are asking that this warning is shared with relatives and neighbours who may not be aware or have social media accounts.

The police will never ask you to provide bank details or withdraw sums of money to be collected and anyone who believes that they have been the victim of a fraudulent phone call can report this by calling police on 101 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is free and can help reduce the number of nuisance and scam calls you receive. To register, please visit: https://www.tpsonline.org.uk/register 

More advice to help stop you from becoming a victim of fraud is below:

• 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 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 to verify the details of the call.

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