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7 August 2013, 09:53 | Updated: 7 August 2013, 10:35
Police want elderly neighbours and relatives to be warned about a debit card scam being perpetrated in Hertfordshire.
Detectives are urging people not to give out bank card details over the phone after a string of suspicious calls.
There were ten such calls made to people in the Watford and Three Rivers areas of Hertfordshire between Monday 29 July 2013 and Friday 2 August.
It is believed there could be more people who would have received calls and not reported them to police.
There have been similar reports of calls being made to people in Bedfordshire.
Police say the scam works in different ways. The con artists call their victim, pretending to be a police officer investigating a fraud on their bank account. On occasions, they claim to be working for the victim’s bank and they then ask for account information, including their card numbers, security number and pin number.
In some cases, if the victim becomes suspicious, the offender suggests that they call 999 or 101 to ask for confirmation that the person is a police officer.
The victim then calls police, but doesn’t realise that the would-be thief has not hung up so goes straight through to them again. In some cases a female offender comes on the line and pretends to be working in the ‘police control room’ and verifies the ‘officer’s’ details.
The caller is then ‘transferred’ back through to the first would-be thief who obtains all the victim’s details.
Police say the offenders are deliberately targeting older victims, with their ages ranging from 60s to 80s.
Hertfordshire's police say officers and bank workers would never ask you to reveal your personal bank account details. They say you should never give them out over the phone and you should visit your local branch if you have any concerns about your account.
Details of suspicious incidents
Mon 27 Jul: a woman in her late 70s was contacted by a man reporting to be a police officer and has obtained bank and card details and subsequently removed money from the account.
Thu 1 Aug, Watford: a man was contacted by a male claiming to be from Visa Fraud, attempted to obtain his bank details.
Thu 1 Aug, Watford: a woman, aged 80, was contacted by a male reporting to be from her bank. No bank details were passed on.
Thu 1 Aug, Watford: a woman was contacted by someone claiming they were a police officer and attempted to obtain bank details. The woman refused and hung up.
Sat 3 Aug, Watford: a couple were contacted by a male reporting to be from an Apple Store, claiming their card had been used fraudulently. Bank details were passed over and money was stolen from their account.