WIGANERS are being warned to be aware of a telephone fraud in which con artists pretend to be from the police.
The scam - which police chiefs have labelled an ‘epidemic’ starts with telephone calls to the victim informing them that their bank details or bank cards have been compromised.
The thieves then convince the victims’ that they are calling from various police forces and that they will either send somebody around in person or convince the victims to transfer money into a ‘safe’ account controlled by the police.
The offenders will then attend the victims address and “seize” the victim’s bank cards and convince them to revealing the pin number to them, if not already done so over the telephone, by keying in the number into the keypad. The thieves then leave the address and subsequently withdraw as much money as they can from the victims bank accounts.
On some occasions the victims have been told to call the “officers” back on 101, but the tricksters do not hang up – leaving the line open, and when the victim redials they are still connected to the offenders, believing that they themselves have called the police.
DS Charlie Haynes from East Lancashire CID said: “These thieves are varying their methods to ultimately gain confidence in these victims who are all elderly. There have been occasions where the offenders have been unsuccessful, but the impact that these crimes are having on the victims’ have been devastating to them, not only financially but also emotionally.
“Offences such as these, where elderly and vulnerable people have been targeted are truly vile and despicable. The victims have put their trust in people who they believed were plain clothed police officers, and this trust has been violated, leading to the theft of large sums of money.”