Police are warning the public to be alert to a recent scam where people are approached by fake police officers and encouraged to take part in an undercover operation
Since November last year, Leicestershire Police has received eight reports of a scam of this nature and are warning the public to prevent further people falling victim to this crime.
The circumstances are that criminals are contacting members of the public, mainly by phone, claiming to be from the police or their bank’s fraud team. The criminal goes on to claim they are investigating a fraud at a local bank where bank staff are involved with issuing fake bank notes and asks the victim for their help.
As part of the ongoing police investigation, the victim is asked to visit the same branch and withdraw a large amount of money from their own account, usually thousands of pounds, and hand this over to the police to be tested.
The victim is assured that they will have the money returned to their bank account however this never happens and the criminal gets away with the cash. The victim is told not to tell the bank the reasons around withdrawing the large sum if questioned, suspecting the cashier is only asking as they are in on the scam.
Paul Wenlock, from the Force’s economic crime unit, said: “This is a scam which seems to be increasing, not just in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland but elsewhere across the country.
“The victim may feel that they are doing a public service by helping the police and for some it may seem exciting to part of an undercover operation, but this is not the case and it’s simply a thief’s way of enticing a victim so they can steal their money.
“It’s important that those who are elderly or vulnerable who often fall prey to such type of scams are aware so we would encourage the public to share this message and help us prevent further victims of this crime.
Paul Wenlock added: “Police or banks will never ask anyone to take part in a fraud operation or withdraw or transfer money. Please be wary of any contact made from someone claiming to be from the police asking you to transfer money.
If you are suspicious or concerned, please hang up the phone and contact either police on 101, Action Fraud or your local bank.”
Anyone who has been contacted in similar circumstances or has any information about the offences is asked to contact 101.