Avon and Somerset Police are warning people across the Bath area to be on their guard against a growing fraud, where people are duped out of cash by fraudster posing as police officers.
A number of incidents have been reported where people have been duped out of cash and coerced into purchasing valuable items by fraudsters posing as police officers.
It is a new twist on an established form of courier fraud which has claimed a number of victims throughout the Avon and Somerset force area and nationwide.
The latest scam involves people being contacted by a man posing as a police officer who is investigating a fraud at their bank. The victim is then persuaded to take part in an undercover investigation by obtaining cash from their account or by purchasing high value items including Rolex watches.
Arrangements are made for the victims to attend a meeting to hand over the cash or goods – the meeting point is sometimes a railway station.
The “detective” then seizes the cash and items as evidence for their investigation.
The victims are aged between 50-90 years and live in Somerset and neighbouring Devon and Cornwall force area.
Detective Inspector Richard Horsfall said: “Fraudsters will use a host of tactics to try to con people out of money. It is particularly disgraceful when they prey on the elderly and the vulnerable.
“A police officer, or any other official, will never ask for money or bank details over the phone or on the door-step or ask you to arrange to take them to a pre-arranged location.
“If you are unsure if the person is who they say they are, ask for identification such as their collar number and call 101 to check the name and the authenticity of the caller.
“Always make sure you use a different phone or even get a relative or neighbour to call to ensure the fraudster has not blocked the phone line. It is always unwise to use any number they give you to call back.
“We would also advise relatives of the elderly and those who have elderly neighbours to make them aware of these scams and also report any instances where people may have been victims of the fraudsters.”
If you want to report being a victim of this type of fraud call 101, quoting reference 5217219020.