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Carmarthenshire Crime West Wales

Warning as police force sees spike in reports of criminals phoning pretending to be officers

Dyfed-Powys Police is warning people to be on their guard after officers have noticed an increase in reports of attempted phone scams in recent days.

Some 15 people have reported these scam calls in the past 10 days, unfortunately, three people have fallen for the scam and lost a considerable amount of money.

DC Gareth Jordan from Dyfed-Powys Police’s Economic Crime Team said: “We have seen a spike in reports saying they have received phone calls from people pretending to be police officers and telling them that their credit card has been cloned or someone has been arrested.

“We’ve had a number of calls in recent days and they appear to be targeting the Carmarthenshire area.

“Many people have realised it was a scam and reported it to us, however, some have been tricked into handing over their bank card and others handing over money.”

This particular con is known as courier fraud and often targets the elderly and vulnerable. It is normally made on landline phones, as the criminal can hold the line open.

The victim receives a phone call from fraudsters who say they are from their bank or the police, often claiming to be based in London.

It could be that they tell the victim that they are calling because there has been suspicious activity on their account and advise them to call the bank from the number on the back of their card, which helps the victim to believe the call is genuine.

In these circumstances, either the number provided will not be genuine or, where a genuine number is suggested, when the victim hangs up the fraudster will stay on the line and pass the victim to a different individual, claiming to be from the bank.

The fraudsters use different stories, sometimes it is: “Money has been removed from the victim’s bank account and staff at their local bank branch are responsible”.

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It could be: “Suspects have already been arrested, but the ‘police’ need the victim’s credit card details or the money withdrawn to evidence that it is counterfeit”.

The aim is always to get the victim to either part with their credit card details, or possibly to get them to withdraw money and have it picked up by courier.

DC Jordan added: “The long-term impact upon victims from this type of crime can be significant both financially and psychologically.

“Whilst many fraud offences have a similar impact, there is a potentially a more sinister aspect to courier fraud in that victims could come face-to-face with the criminals targeting them.”

Important things to remember:

• The police will not phone you and ask you to convey details of your debit or credit card
• The police will not contact you to tell you your debit or credit card has been cloned.
• The police, or your bank, will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer it to a different account
• They will also never ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN
• Phone a family member or friend to make sure the line has cleared and then phone 101 to report to police.