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Police foil phone scam after elderly man duped into handing over cash in Elstree
Quick-thinking police officers foiled a phone scam after an elderly man was duped into handing over his life savings.
The man, from Elstree, received a telephone call from someone claiming to be a police officer investigating fraud involving his bank account.
He convinced the man, in his 70s, the call was genuine by telling him to hang up and ring his bank to confirm what happened.
However the victim did not realise the caller had not hung up, and so spoke to another fraudster this time pretending to be from the man’s bank.
He was told he needed to withdraw cash to assist with their investigation, and was then instructed to send the money to them via an unsuspecting taxi firm.
But when a taxi arrived to collect the money, the man became suspicious and contacted the police using another phone.
The police call taker could hear the victim using the other phone to talk to the criminals, and was able to extract the name of the taxi firm.
He sent officers to the scene while other police staff made calls to the taxi firm.
They obtained details of the driver and vehicle being used, as well as its exact location and were able to intercept the taxi before the money was handed over to the fraudsters.
The driver then assisted officers by identifying those involved in the scam.
The three members of staff involved have been praised as they undertook a number of vital roles, which ultimately prevented the victim losing his life savings.
Detective Inspector Jason Keane said: “The quick thinking and dynamic actions taken by the Force Control Room staff was outstanding.
“Having been aware of how these scams work they were able to carry out a number of enquiries, whilst managing the initial call and police resources, which resulted in the victim being reunited with their money.
“This incident further demonstrates how hard we’re working to make the county a hostile place for anyone involved in phone scams.
Whilst the public should be reassured that our staff are highly trained and will be able to quickly assist those who may have been targeted as part of a phone scam, people still need to be aware that the scams are operating.”
Anyone who is suspicious about a telephone conversation should end the call, then wait for five minutes or use a different phone to call 101 to ensure they are not reconnected to the same person.
Police never ask for bank account details, PIN numbers or ask someone to withdraw money and send it to them via the phone.
Taxi firms are also asked to be on the lookout and contact police if they become suspicious after being asked to collect a package from an elderly person.
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