The scam starts with a phone call from a male purporting to be ‘Sgt Harris’ from Hammersmith Police. ‘Harris’ advises the resident that they have detained a member of bank staff under suspicion of fraudulent activity on the residents bank account.
‘Harris’ then askes the resident to call 161 (or 061) satisfy themselves that he is a genuine caller. The resident then hangs up, but ‘Harris’ then keeps the telephone line open. When the resident calls 161 or 061 an accomplice answers and confirms ‘Harris’ is a genuine caller.
The resident is then advised to call their bank. Again the line is left open by the accomplice, but the resident thinks they have started a new call. The person answering this time claims to be from the bank, and after taking some security details and a mobile phone number, tells the resident that a large amount of money has been removed from their account, and put back in as counterfeit money. This money needs to be withdrawn from the account and handed to the Police at an arranged contact point.
Further calls are made to the residents mobile phone number to encourage them to get the money.
It should be noted that there are variations on this scam and the information is not restricted to the above. Although reports have come in from the Farnborough area, there is no reason to suspect that this may not be a countywide issue.
Trading Standards would advise consumers never to give personal details to any person who has called them on the telephone, no matter who they say they are. The Police will never ask a resident to withdraw money.
If any resident is contacted by the Police, and they are suspicious, best advise is to get a collar number from the caller. Using a different phone, or after 20 minutes, call 101 and ask for the officer.
To report a scam or suspicious phone call, contact our partners at the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 05 06 07, or the Police on 101.
Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Service
Montgomery House Monarch Way
Winchester Hampshire SO22 5PW
Tel: 01962 833620
Fax: 01962 833698