Wiganers targeted in phone scam

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Crime story

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WIGAN residents are being targeted in a phone scam by fraudsters posing as police and bank officials.

There have been around 400 incidents reported in various parts of Greater Manchester over the last 18 months where victims have been tricked into disclosing bank details and handing over cards to couriers, which has resulted in more than £90,000 being stolen from their accounts.

These incidents seemed to have stopped over the summer months, but have now re-emerged in the Wigan area, which is one place where none of the previous incidents had occurred.

Greater Manchester Police today urged folk to make elderly or vulnerable relatives aware of this type of crime, and to remind them never to reveal account numbers, sort codes or PIN numbers, as legitimate banks or police officers would never ask for these over the phone.

A resident whose suspicions are aroused when they are called by someone claiming to be a police should take the caller’s details, including his or her name and collar number.

Then use a different phone or ensure you have a dialling tone before calling police on 101 to verify their identity.

That is because the fraud can involve the caller not ringing off, so when victims dial another number for confirmation of authenticity they are still actually speaking to the fraudster or an accomplice at the other end of the line.

Likewise, anyone with suspicions about someone claiming to be from a bank should ask for the caller’s name, the name of the bank, and the branch they are from.

They should then contact the branch to confirm their identity.

If you believe your card has been cloned or stolen, call your bank straight away.

A police spokesman said: “We want to reassure the public that our resources are focused on those fraudsters in the community who are causing the most harm, and we regularly run investigations that result in significant sentences for offenders, as well as the recovery of criminally obtained funds.”