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Witness appeal following phone scam in Highcliffe

Alert message sent 02/02/2018 17:30:00

Information sent on behalf of Dorset Alert

Detectives are appealing for witnesses and urging residents to remain vigilant following a series of phone scams in East Dorset.

Four incidents were reported to Dorset Police on Wednesday 31 January and Thursday 1 February 2018 by residents living in Highcliffe, Wimborne and Christchurch.

In three cases the scammers purported to be from the police and one claimed to be calling from BT. The victims were told their bank accounts had been hacked. 

On Wednesday 31 January an elderly woman received a phone call from a man purporting to be a police officer. He said that someone was trying to scam the woman and that she needed to withdraw 8,000 Euros and the ‘officers’ would step in to arrest the ‘scammer’ as she handed the money over.

The victim went to the bank in a taxi that had been arranged by the offender but it was closed.

She returned yesterday, Thursday 1 February, and asked the bank for £7,000. She told staff the money was for a kitchen but thankfully staff were suspicious and they followed the banking protocol and alerted Dorset Police. The woman told cashiers that someone from the ‘police’ had attended her home that morning asking for the money.

Officers attended the woman’s home Rothesay Drive. No offenders were located and no money was lost. 

Detective Inspector Neil Wright, of Dorset Police, said: “The offender targeted a vulnerable woman and purported to be a police officer in an attempt to steal a large amount of money from her. I would like to thank the bank staff for their quick thinking and diligence in reporting this incident to us promptly. 

“I am appealing to anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the Rothesay Drive area on Wednesday or Thursday this week to please contact us.

“Over the past few days we have experienced an increase in the number of calls from concerned members of the public reporting fraud involving people claiming to be from the National Crime Agency (NCA) or police officers.

“Please remember, the NCA or police officers will never ask you for any money. If someone calls you claiming to be a police officer ask for their collar number and surname and check their identity with the police force they are claiming to be from.”

Our advice is: 

•         Never give money to anyone unless you are sure of who they are and what the money is for.

•         Never give any personal information to anyone. Fraudsters are clever and will use this information to their advantage.

•         If in doubt, ask! Ask for help from your family or friends. Run it by them and take their advice.

For more information, visit - https://www.dorset.police.uk/help-advice-crime-prevention/scams-fraud-cyber-crime/telephone-scams-courier-fraud/.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101, quoting occurrence number 55180016718. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or via www.crimestopper-uk.org.
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