Police are urging people across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to remain vigilant and be wary of a telephone scam currently in operation.
Six reports have been received in the past week in which a total of £18,000 has been erroneously handed over.
From enquiries carried out so far, many calls follow the below scenario:
A cold call is made to a victim by someone claiming to work with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) or national insurance and that information is required to be passed on to the police. The call is then ended
The victim then receives a further call which is shown to be from 0116 222 2222 – which is the main switchboard number for Leicestershire Police. Please note this number is 'spoofed' - ie faked. Numbers shown on a caller ID are not confirmation or verification of where a call is coming from - the phone is merely displaying what it has been told to say
A person claiming to be a police officer then speaks to the victim, stating the victim’s details are being used to open a large number of bank accounts. Threatening language may be use and victims have been told they are in trouble and could be arrested or taken to court
The caller then provides a bank account number and asks the victim to transfer money over for ‘safe keeping’.
Nicole McIntyre, from the force's Economic Crime Unit, said: “We will never contact you and ask you to transfer funds.
“Should you receive a call from the force phone number where someone asks you to send money, please hang up immediately.
“You can contact us on 101 should you need to clarify the information. Always leave more than ten seconds between hanging up and dialling out to ensure the original call has terminated.
“Please pass this information on to any friends of family members who may not be aware of this scam or who could be particularly vulnerable to the way these criminals operate. If we work together, we can try and prevent more people from falling victim.”
If you are a victim of this scam – or know someone who has been – please contact us on 101. You can also report incidents online by visiting https://crowd.in/PuhvCu
You should also contact your bank immediately.
You can also make a report to Action Fraud by visiting https://crowd.in/HfsKQK