West Kent pensioners targeted by fake bank telephone calls
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Residents are reminded to be on their guard against criminals posing as bank staff, following reported attempts to defraud two pensioners over the phone.
On Wednesday 25 March 2020, a Penshurst resident in his 80s received a phone call from a man claiming to work for his bank. He was told he needed to move cash from his account and, to assist, a taxi would arrive at his home address to take him to his local branch.
When a taxi stopped at the pensioner’s house, a concerned neighbour intervened and persuaded the victim to stay at home. The victim later received further calls from the same person and the police were notified.
On Friday 27 March, a pensioner from the Edenbridge area had a phone call from a person who said they worked for his bank and were calling all account holders aged over 70 to offer support and advice.
The caller asked for his account number and sort code but the victim became suspicious and reported the call to Kent Police.
District Commander for Tunbridge Wells, Chief Inspector Peter Steenhuis said: ‘We continue to see incidents where older victims are being deliberately targeted by suspected fraudsters over the phone.
‘Thankfully on these occasions, no money was stolen but nonetheless such incidents can cause considerable anxiety and distress.
‘Our dedicated fraud team work diligently to track down those who target the most vulnerable people in our communities, but I would appeal to friends, neighbours and family members to help us, by sharing our advice to protect those who may be particularly at risk from this type of crime.
‘It is important to note, a bank or building society will never ask a member of the public for any of their bank details, or money, over the phone and will never send a taxi or courier to an account holder’s home to assist in transferring cash.’
If you are not confident a person claiming to work for your bank or building society is genuine, ask to take their details and then end the call.
Wait for at least five minutes for the call to clear and then contact 101, or 999 in an emergency. A call handler will be able to verify whether your caller was genuine.
You can also report suspicious activity online using our online service or via Action Fraud.
The matter can also be reported to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 or by calling Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.