Police are investigating an incident whereby an elderly woman from Exminster was contacted by telephone by someone pretending to be a police officer.
The incident happened on Friday 18 December. A woman in her 80s received a call from a man who said he was a police officer and told the lady to call him back on ‘999’, the lady did this and spoke to another man who also identified himself as a police officer.
The man informed her that he was investigating a fraud and needed her help and persuaded her to make a high value purchase of gold, which she did.
The woman has since be refunded the amount of the transaction.
“We are warning the public to be vigilant when receiving calls from strangers. If a police officer calls, always ask for their name and shoulder number, then hang up and call 101 to check their identity.
“Fraudsters can be very convincing and persuasive. The best advice is to end the call and consult a friend or member of your family or call the police. Please take a look at the following advice to victims:
1.Never disclose security details, such as your PIN or full banking password
Banks and other trusted organisations will never ask you for these in an email, on the phone, by text or in writing.
2. Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic
Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and address or even your mother’s maiden name), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Remember, fraudsters can also make any telephone number appear on your phone handset, so even if you recognise the number or it seems authentic, do not assume they are genuine.
3. Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision
Under no circumstances would a bank or organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot; they would never ask you to transfer money into another account for fraud reasons. Remember to stop and take time to carefully consider your actions.
4. Listen to your instincts
If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. They may appear trustworthy, but they may not be who they claim to be.
5. Stay in control
Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information. It’s okay to stop the discussion if you do not feel in control of it.
More advice on avoiding fraud can be found on the Devon and Cornwall police website – https://www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/prevention-and-advice/your-money/