Police Scotland is advising members of the public, taxi drivers and local cab firms to be vigilant and suspicious of scammers, after fraudsters attempted to cash in on a vulnerable couple.
The police are asking for everyone to be mindful of telephone calls regarding breaches of security to their bank accounts after a recent incident within the Forfar area.
There are also numerous reports of automated telephone messages with a similar theme.
On this occasion, an elderly couple were targeted by a man who claimed to be from a bank and that their bank account had been compromised. The caller urged them to utilise the 1471 facility and telephone the bank back immediately.
On doing as requested by the man, this led to them being directed to another man claiming to be from the fraud section of the bank concerned. He asked them immediately to transfer their money, a four figure sum, to what was claimed to be “a safe account” with another bank and urged the couple not to disclose any information.
On this occasion the fraudsters went to the extent of ordering a local taxi to convoy one of them to the bank to carry out this transaction.
On attendance at the bank, staff became suspicious and alerted police through the ‘Banking Protocol’ and the scam came to light.
This resulted in no financial loss on this occasion due to the bank’s intervention.
The distress and upset to the elderly couple, however, cannot be measured.
Sergeant Andy Sheppard, Preventions & Interventions, Tayside Division said:
"This type of incident, often involving a telephone call can and will raise fear amongst members of the public often heightened where threatening statements are also added, things like “you will be arrested, there will be a warrant issued, a debt collecting agency has been informed.
"In this case it was the threat of losing money, the fear that followed and the despicable methods fraudster will use to deceive members of our community in order to steal their possessions and often targeting their respective life savings.
"This also demonstrates the lengths the fraudsters will go to in organising transport through a local taxi firm to aid their crime.”
He also added:
"I would like taxi firms to beware of being used in transporting vulnerable members of the community to banks and other financial institutions and if suspicious in any way to contact the police immediately.”
If you receive a telephone call from someone claiming to be from your bank and that your accounts have been compromised consider the following advice:
STOP AND THINK
Requests to move money: A genuine bank or organisation will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account. Only give out your personal or financial details to use a service that you have given your consent to, that you trust and that you are expecting to be contacted by.
Clicking on links/files: Don’t be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
Personal information: Always question uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number.
Often telephone lines can be held by fraudsters so when you redial you are still connected to them. Confirm your banks telephone number and contact them on a different telephone such as a mobile telephone if possible.
Check for a dialling tone on every occasion and if still not sure phone a friend or relative to confirm disconnection and that you have an open line.
If you feel threatened, unsafe or suspicious of a caller, contact the police immediately. For further advice and information contact your local community policing team or visit https://www.scotland.police.uk/keep-safe/personal-safety/identity-theft-fraud-and-scams
The Banking Protocol is an initiative between the police, banking institutions & Trading Standards.
Its aim is at the earliest opportunity to identify vulnerable victims who are in the process of being defrauded of funds from their bank accounts by unscrupulous criminals and to intervene to prevent these crimes.
Victims, particularly elderly and other vulnerable people are targeted by suspects for a range of fraud offences, including courier fraud and bogus worker offences. These crimes often involve the perpetrator encouraging the victim to attend their bank, post office or other financial services provider in person and withdraw or transfer cash.
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