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Telephone fraud alert with tips and advice

Alert message sent 25/01/2017 11:28:00

Information sent on behalf of Durham Constabulary

Telephone enabled fraud is a huge problem nationally, Durham Fraud Team have completed a lot of 'Protect' work to give people the tools to prevent this type of crime. Telephone enabled fraud is preventable.

Fraudsters are cold calling  people in our force area purporting to be genuine businesses, they sometimes know name and details of the person they call.

Fraudsters will pretend to be a genuine company and then socially engineer you on the phone, it is best to #hangup as they will feed off any information you give them e.g you tell them you have called the police, they later call you pretending to be the police.

Fraudsters often purport to be BT, HMRC, COURTS, POLICE, MICROSOFT, TALK TALK, BANKS, in fact ANY business. NEVER assume any call is genuine.

The criminals can target anyone but often prey on the elderly.

In the latest incident an elderly Co.Durham resident was telephoned by fraudsters purporting to be the victims bank and was with another fraudster who purported to be the Met Police, they knew the name and some account details of the victim.

The first male called himself ' Martin Taylor' and said he worked for the Bank Fraud Dept, he was professional sounding and put pressure on by claiming money was at risk, informed that the customers account had somehow been hacked and that they were working in conjunction with the Met Police.

The first fraudster then passed the phone to a second fraudster. He gave his name as 'Insp Ryan' of the Met Fraud  Police Unit. This male stated that he needed the customer to release money, so they could 'trap' persons targeting the account. This was all lies.

The victim initially agreed and withdrew a substantial sum of money as directed to do by the fraudsters. The fraudsters then asked that this money be sent via MoneyGram, directing her to go to her nearest Post Office to send the money.

This money was to be sent to India. Fortunately the person targeted in this case, stopped, she thought it didn't  seem right. As a result this person has not lost any money. this matter has been reported to Action Fraud, The National Centre for Fraud and Cyber Crime reporting.

Other victims in our area have not been so lucky and have lost large sums of money.

My tips and advice:-

Your home telephone is a key enabler of fraud:-
  • we advice you to hang up on calls you did not instigate, all calls that are 'cold', even if they know your name and details. Fraudsters lie, have no moral compass and are happy to ruin lives.
  • NEVER assume any phone call is genuine.
  • NEVER trust your CALLER ID display on your phone. Fraudsters can spoof this to look like a genuine number.
  • If you are directed to call back , have a brew first, this is because fraudsters can keep a phone line open for up to 10 seconds. they can even spoof a dial tone. When you do call back , use a number you know and trust such as off your bank statement or bill and not a number given to you.
  • If you are a BT customer ring up and sign up for the 'Call Protect' service, it is new, it is free and claims to clock up to 30 million numbers. This is part of designing out crime and/or reducing call volume into the home so you can make better choices.
  • Consider designing out crime, if the volume of calls is so great or calls are to a vulnerable member of your family you could consider a call blocker such as a 'True call' call blocking device. On 'trusted caller only' settings this device will block every call on the planet and then ONLY allow the numbers you tell tell it e.g. friends, family doctor , dentist etc. this is pretty easy to set up, you must have caller ID enabled on your phone, most phone providers do this free of charge. They do cost approx £100, but some people may be able to afford and it could stop you losing thousands of pounds , in addition to  giving peace of mind. This device has worked well with some victims of telephone fraud with one reporting 10 calls a day reducing to 3 a week, and all of those from trusted friends.
If you have been targeted by fraud then please report to Action Fraud on or 0300 123 2040. This reporting centre plays a key role as even when no money has been lost, it feeds in vital intelligence that will benefit others and could result in a case sent to the most appropriate force to deal.


@DurhamFraud are on twitter, great simple advice to help protect you from fraud and cyber crime. If you don't already then please follow us.

For more useful information visit and

Take Five is a National campaign aimed and prompting people to change behaviours to help stop fraud.

#tell2 is a Durham Fraud Team communication campaign, ( based on twitter for now) we want people to talk more about fraud prevention, we want you to tell 2 people in the real world what you have learned about fraud 'Protect'.

We want fraud 'protect' in every front room, get chatting!
Message sent by
Tony Murray (Police, Officer, Durham)

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