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Thame victim almost scammed out of £12,000

Thames Valley Police

2:34pm 18th May 2018

A victim in Thame was nearly scammed out of over £12,000.

Officers are reminding us to remain vigilant after a series of courier fraud incidents. 

After recent reports in Thame, police have told us the criminals are very convincing and they ask you to help them 'catch a thief'.

Pretending to be Police Officers

On 11th May an 80-year-old woman from Thame received a call from a man claiming he was a Superintendent from Metropolitan Police, telling her £4800 has been fraudulently withdrawn from her account.  

The man went on to say that this attempt had been intercepted and all funds had been returned to her, but then told the victim she should call 999 so that she could be satisfied that she wasn't being scammed.

Police describe this as a common 'call-back trick', that they use to gain your trust, leading you to believe you have ended one call and redialled a new number. 

But, the offender actually leaves the line open so that you end up speaking to the original fraudster without realising.  

The victim was then asked to withdraw £4600 from a bank on Thame High Street so that the bank notes could be checked to see if they were counterfeit.

The offenders then arranged to collect the cash from the victim's house using a code word.

Unlikely this money will ever be recovered

On 20th April a different person in Thame received a phone call telling them that they owed a large amount of unpaid tax. 

They were warned that if it was not paid immediately a warrant would be executed for their arrest - this understandably frightened the victim.

They were instructed not to contact any third parties, especially the police, and briefed on how to engage with bank staff.

The victim went to the bank on three separate occasions and transferred over £12,000 to the fraudsters account before bank staff became suspicious, they then luckily contacted the police who were able to stop two of the transactions.

Most of the funds were retrieved

There is a Banking Protocol where they have agreed to notify the police of all suspicious and out of character withdrawals, but fraudsters are attempting to avoid this detection by briefing victims with fake stories.

Advice:

  • Your bank or the police would never ask you to meet them at a location and hand over money or anything valuable.
  • Your bank or the police will never call you asking you to verify your personal details or PIN by phone or offer to pick up your card by courier - hang up if you get a call like this.
  • Remain vigilant

If you have any doubts regarding the legitimacy of the call please disconnect your telephone at the wall, plug the phone back in and call 101.

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