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Essex: Warning over bogus police officers
5:50pm Thursday 7th February 2013 in Local News
Detectives have renewed an appeal to beware of bogus police officers following another incident in west Essex.
A woman aged in her 80s was tricked into giving her bank details after receiving a phone call from a man claiming to be a detective chief inspector from the Metropolitan Police.
The caller, who claimed he was DCI Charlston, told the woman that she had been the victim of a fraud and that he needed all her bank details, which she provided.
The woman, who is from Chigwell, was then told that the officer would need to see her bank cards and that a courier would be sent to collect them. A man turned up 30 minutes later and took the cards. It is not yet known how much has been taken from the woman’s savings.
Detectives are carrying out an investigation into the incident which was reported on Tuesday morning.
The latest warning follows an alert issued on Monday about a bogus caller claiming to be a police officer, who attempts to use the Police non-emergency 101 telephone number to obtain bank details.
That suspect is known to call people and tell them their bank details had been found in possession of arrested suspects.
In an attempt to verify that he was a genuine officer he gave the name of Sgt James Hackett (no such officer exists) and invited his intended victim to call him back urgently, within five minutes, on the police 101 number.
One victim did call him back to find out more but became suspicious because there was no dialling tone and no extension number was given. He hung up immediately. Another victim was tricked into giving details.
Inspector Paul Wells said: "We have no evidence that the three incidents are connected because the methods are not the same in all three cases. However, in each case the caller claimed to be a police officer and claimed to be investigating an alleged theft or fraud against the victim.
"It is absolutely vital that people are on their guard if they receive a call of this kind. Genuine police officers will never ask for bank details over the telephone. It is possible that one man or a group of criminals working together is using different names and different stories to trick the elderly or vulnerable. One simple rule will prevent you from falling for this kind of con and that is to never give bank details to anyone who has called you.
"The same is true of people who knock at your door. If an individual is legitimate, they should not mind your asking for them to prove who they are.”
Anyone who is contacted by a caller claiming to be police investigating a bank card fraud should contact police on 101. Anyone with information about suspicious callers claiming to be police should call detectives at Loughton CID, also on 101.
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