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Residents urged to be vigilant following scam

8 Feb 2019

Police are urging residents to be aware of telephone fraudsters who have targeted a victim in Berkhamsted.

At around midday on January 31, the victim – a man aged in his 40s – was contacted via WhatsApp by someone pretending to be from HMRC. They claimed he owed money in relation to a tax return and said if it was not paid that day he would be arrested.

The victim then received a telephone call from someone pretending to be from his bank who said the request from HMRC was genuine and that if payment was not received his bank accounts would be frozen.

The victim pay thousands of pounds in bitcoin to the offenders.

He then received a call from someone pretending to be a police officer from Hertfordshire Constabulary who said that more money needed to be paid or he would be arrested.

At this stage the victim became suspicious and alerted police.

Detective Constable Andrew Roseblade, from Dacorum’s Local Crime Unit, said: “These fraudsters have obviously gone to a great deal of effort to persuade their victim that they are legitimate and it has resulted in him losing thousands of pounds.

“Unfortunately these thieves are always thinking of new ways to persuade people to part with their money and often go to great lengths to seem authentic.

“I’d like to urge people to always bear in mind that callers may not be who they claim to be and please ensure you carry out robust checks before parting with any money.

“If you are suspicious of someone who has contacted you please end the conversation and contact police via our online reporting option at www.herts.police.uk/Report or by calling 101. If a crime is in progress always dial 999.”

 

Hertfordshire Constabulary offers the following crime prevention advice:

  • Be sceptical of callers, even those who claim to be officials.
  • Don’t be afraid to put the phone down with a brief ‘No, thank you’.
  • NEVER give personal information, such as your date of birth or bank details, to unexpected callers.
  • NEVER allow an unexpected caller to talk you through processes on your computer, like downloading new software or accessing your online bank account.
  • Remember that the police or your bank would NEVER unexpectedly call you and ask you to withdraw cash or move your money to another account, as a result of fraud or any other reason.
  • If callers suggest you call your local police or bank to check who they are, use another phone or ensure the line has been fully disconnected by phoning a friend or relative first, or by waiting at least 3 minutes, otherwise you may think you’ve phoned a number, but you’re simply talking to the fraudsters again. This is a common fraudsters’ tactic.
  • If a caller asks you to type your bank PIN number into your telephone handset - do not do this, as fraudsters can use technology to identify the numbers.
  • You can opt out of many cold calls by registering for free with the Telephone Preference Service on 0845 070 0707. Genuine computer firms will not call unexpectedly to help fix your computer. Fraudsters make these calls to try to gain access to your online bank account or to trick you into paying for something you didn’t need or to damage your computer with harmful software.

There is further crime prevention advice on the Hertfordshire Constabulary website at https://www.herts.police.uk/home.

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