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Guildford Residents Fall Victim to County-wide Surge In Phone and Doorstep Bank Frauds

Published on: 19 Jun, 2020
Updated on: 21 Jun, 2020

Police are warning Surrey residents, especially the elderly, to beware of bogus phone calls and phoney doorstop “couriers” in bank frauds.

The Dragon has been told of two Guildford residents in the south-west of the town who have recently fallen victim.

Across the county, officers have had 20 reports of this crime, where crooks impersonate police or an official from the victim’s bank.

The phone caller usually claims there has been unauthorised use of a debit or credit card, that someone has been arrested and an investigation is underway.

They say they need the resident’s help by giving their PIN and card details over the phone, or handed to a courier they will send. In four of the recent Surrey cases, a courier turned up.

Luckily, only six of the 20 recent attempts were successful, but with a total loss of £58,705. The highest single loss is believed to be £22,000.

All victims were over 60, most being over 75 and the oldest 94. Sixteen victims were female, most living alone. In one unsuccessful case the victim’s husband had passed away just two weeks before.

Police are offering support and advising about prevention because victims can be targeted frequently.

PC Bernadette Lawrie BEM, the Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer for Surrey Police said: “This is a heart-breaking crime that preys on the most vulnerable in our communities and often targets a generation who believe in helping police and want to do the right thing.

“It can leave victims feeling embarrassed, low in confidence and blaming themselves, which they absolutely mustn’t. The only people to blame are the immoral perpetrators of this crime.

“Remember, no police officer, or bank staff on the phone, will ever ask for your bank details, PIN or for cash. Don’t give your details or cash to anyone in these circumstances. Hang up the phone straight away.”

Top tips to help stop this type of fraud are:

  • Act with care if you get an unsolicited phone call;
  • Never transfer funds into a new account on the instruction of an unexpected caller, even if they tell you the account is in your name;
  • Always check your phone line has properly disconnected before making another call. Call a good friend first, wait five minutes or use a different phone;
  • Never share your PIN code or enter your PIN into a telephone;
  • Never withdraw money and hand it to a “courier” or “police officer”; and
  • Never give your bank cards to anyone who comes to your door.

For further advice and information on preventing this type of fraud, see the Surrey Police website linked here: https://www.surrey.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/wsi/watch-schemes-initiatives/os/operation-signature/

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