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Residents reminded to stay safe after caller claims to be police officer

Officers are reminding residents to stay safe after a man in his 80’s was nearly tricked out of around £4,000 by a person claiming to be a police officer.
The victim who is from Gillingham, received a phone call on 14 February 2019 from a person who said they were a police officer working for Essex Police.

The caller claimed that someone had tried to steal £5,000 from the man’s bank account and put the money back in the account using fake notes. They said that a police courier would attend his address and check the serial numbers to make sure it was not ‘dodgy money’.

The man subsequently withdrew £4,500 and had it in a bag ready for collection.

At around 7.30pm a person knocked at the victim’s address. The man asked to use the toilet and having used the bathroom the man grabbed the bag and attempted to run out of the property before the victim tackled him and retrieved the bag back.

The suspect is described as white, early 20’s, around 5ft 8ins with a slight build. He was wearing a white shirt, black bomber style jacket and black trousers.

Detective Sergeant Marc Cananur from Kent Police’s Serious Economic Crime Unit said: ‘A police force will never ask a member of the public for their bank details or money. If you are not confident that a person claiming to be an officer is genuine, ask to take their details. Contact 101, or 999 in an emergency.

‘A call handler will be able to verify whether your caller was genuine. Never hand over any money or other items, to a courier after receiving this type of call.

‘I’d also like to remind residents that should anyone knock or call unexpectedly requesting personal details or to be let into properties that if you are in doubt of their validity you should not give out any personal information or let them into your home. A genuine person will not mind calling back or visiting at a later date when you have had a chance to look into the validity further.’

Also, remember to;

• Lock your back doors and windows before answering your front door.

• Use a spyhole and ask who the caller is through the door first, then keep the door on
the chain.

• Check their identification, even if they have a pre-arranged appointment.

• If you are not expecting the caller and they do not carry an ID card, do not let them in.

• To check a caller is genuine, you can look up the number in the phone book or a recent bill and check it against the card the caller has given you.

• Do not just ring the number on the card as it may be fake.

• If you have any doubts about whether the caller is genuine, ask them to leave and come back at a time convenient to you and when you've had a chance to ask someone to be with you.

• Never leave your front door unattended. If you need to get something, close the door until you return.

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