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Fake police investigation scam

Alert message sent 12/12/2017 10:03:00

Information sent on behalf of Dorset Alert

Scam warning - Residents are being asked to take part in an undercover fraud investigation at a local branch of a bank.
A scam in which criminals pose as police officers or members of a bank’s fraud team and ask people to take part in a fake undercover operation has been brought to the attention of Dorset Police.
The scam begins with fraudsters making contact with their target, usually by phone, and stating they are a police officer or, in some cases a member of the fraud team with their bank. The criminal will state they are investigating a fraud at a local branch where staff are suspected of being complicit, including issuing fake bank notes, and ask the person for their help in the operation.
As part of the scam, they will be asked to visit the branch and withdraw a substantial sum, often thousands of pounds, so that the cash can be analysed by police and reassured the money will be returned at the end of the operation. However, once the money is handed over, the fraudster disappears.
In another version, the criminal convinces the target to transfer money to a so-called ‘safe account’ to protect their funds from ‘corrupt’ bank staff. However, the account is in fact controlled by the criminal.
The criminal instructs their victim not to discuss the case with anyone in the branch, giving them plausible explanations as to why they are withdrawing the money. As a result, despite being questioned by bank staff, the victim will take out cash, convinced that the staff are part of a fraud.
Dorset Police is offering prevention advice in a bid to combat the scam, which has been reported throughout the UK but not in Dorset to date.
Detective Inspector Neil Wright, of Dorset Police's Priority and Volume Crime team, said: “Scams such as this work because fraudsters are so convincing. We will never ask anyone to carry out any investigative work for us, or withdraw their own money and neither will your bank. If you receive any phone call you’re not sure about, please just hang up.”
Advice to consumers on how to avoid this scam:
The police will never ask you to become part of an undercover investigation or for you to withdraw cash and hand it to them for safe-keeping.
Be wary of any calls, texts or emails purporting to be from the police asking for your personal or financial details, or for you to transfer money.
If you are approached, or feel something is suspicious, hang up the phone and don’t reply.
For information and advice about scams in Dorset, go to the Fraud Alert page of our website - Scams should be reported to Action Fraud (the national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre) on 0300 123 2040.

Alternatively you can sign up to Action Fraud Alert to receive direct, verified and accurate information about scams and fraud in your area by email, recorded voice and text message.
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Communications Team (Dorset Police, CED, Dorset)

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