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Elderly targeted by fraudsters posing as police
An elderly man in Oxhey was conned into handing over jewellery, bank details, and cash by fraudsters posing as police officers, Hertfordshire Constabulary has warned.
The force is alerting residents to a spate of phone scams, which have seen elderly people targeted across Watford, Three Rivers and Bushey during March.
In the Oxhey incident the victim, a man in his 80s, was called by a man who said he was an officer investigating fraud.
The victim gave his bank card, money, and some jewellery to a courier, who was sent later to collect the items.
Hertfordshire Constabulary said since the beginning of March it has received 104 reports of similar phone scams in Hertfordshire so far.
Six of these incidents resulted in the victims giving personal information and their bank cards and three incidents resulted in the victims giving money.
In Watford and Oxhey there were ten incidents during March. In two incidents, elderly women were targeted and told there had been fraudulent activity detected in their bank account. In one case the victim was asked to give her bank card to a courier, who arrived later and collected it.
In the Three Rivers area there were 10 incidents, seven of which were in Rickmansworth. A man, in his late 60s, from Rickmansworth was contacted by an offender who claimed to be a police officer investigating fraudulent activity in the victim’s bank account. The victim’s PIN number and account details were obtained and his bank cards later collected by a courier.
In Hertsmere there were a total of 19 incidents, with one in Bushey. However in this case the person called recognised the call as a scam.
Detective Inspector Jason Keane, from Hertfordshire Constabulary, said: "Although these numbers seem very high, this may be caused by increasing numbers of people reporting incidents as more people become aware of the scam and they are alerting us when they are being targeted.
"We are continuing our robust approach in dealing with those who participate in phone scams, particularly when they target the vulnerable and elderly members of our community. Arrests are continuing to be made in connection with these types of scams, but people still need to be aware.
"Please remember the police and banks would never ask anyone over the phone to: Reveal their bank accounts details, including their PIN numbers, withdraw cash, or hand over any possessions, including cash or bank cards, to a stranger or courier.
Detective Inspector Daniel Lawrence, from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), added: "An ERSOU task force has now been set up to investigate this type of fraud and we have resources from across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk who will be targeting those who are the most vulnerable.
"Our aim is simple; we will identify, disrupt and dismantle organised crime groups across the eastern region making it a hostile place for organised crime to operate. To do this, we do need the public’s help.
"Anyone who receives calls that appear to be suspicious should contact the police via the non-emergency number 101. Please remember to use a mobile phone or wait until you hear the dialling tone before calling us as the other caller may not have cleared the line. I would urge people to contact us and not be embarrassed by what has happened.
"Offenders do appear to be targeting the vulnerable and elderly, so please share this information and advice with your elderly relatives and neighbours so they are aware."
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