People in Gedling borough are being warned about a new scam where criminals dupe innocent victims into joining fake “police operations” and then fleece them out of thousands in cash.
Nottinghamshire Police issued the warning after it was revealed fraudsters are contacting members of the public, usually by phone, and claiming to be from the force, or in some cases a fraud team within their bank.
The criminals will claim they’re investigating a fraud at a local bank where staff are suspected of being complicit, including issuing fake bank notes, and asks their victim to help in the operation.
As part of the scam, the individual is requested to visit the branch and withdraw a substantial sum, often thousands of pounds, of the supposedly counterfeit cash to hand over to the “police” for “analysis”. The victim is assured that the money will be deposited back into their account after the operation is complete. However, once the money is passed over the fraudster disappears with the cash.
The fake officer instructs their victim not to discuss the case with anyone in the branch, giving them plausible explanations as to why they are withdrawing the money. As a result, despite being questioned by the bank staff, the victim takes out the cash, convinced that the staff are part of a fraud.
In another version of the scam, the criminal convinces the victim to transfer money to a so-called ‘safe account’ to protect their funds from the ‘corrupt’ bank staff. However, the account is in fact controlled by the criminal.
All customers are reminded that the police and banks will never ask members of the public to become part of an anti-fraud operation or to transfer money to a ‘safe account’ for fraud reasons.
Inspector Yvonne Dales from the fraud team at Nottinghamshire Police said: “We’d really like to raise awareness of this scam as much as we can so we’re asking our residents to spread the word and make sure their elderly and vulnerable loved ones are aware of it too.
“A police officer would never ask you to hand over your cash, even if they were investigating counterfeit notes. Unfortunately, we live in an age where people are not who they say they are so we have to ask people to be suspicious and be sceptical.
She added: “If you do get asked to do something involving money that doesn’t feel or sound quite right, don’t act right away. End the call and contact us on 101 or call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. If it’s genuine, there won’t be any need for you to act then and there.”