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By Beth Sharp Thursday 20 February 2014 Updated: 20/02 23:55
ELDERLY Northfield residents have been warned about a phone scammer who has claimed around £10,000 from making bogus calls since January 1.
The fraudsters phoned at least 15 homes, mainly in the Northfield and Solihull areas, in the space of a few hours last Thursday (February 13).
The police officer impersonators have been posing as detectives and trying to panic people into handing over their bank cards and security details.
The ruse involves a fake officer claiming the target’s bank account had been hacked or their card cloned so they needed to hand their card and PIN number over to stop further fraudulent transactions.
The callers’ tactics vary - some claim to be from the regional police station or from London, some say they have arrested people and recovered cloned bank cards whilst others said money had been taken from the victim's account.
West Midlands Police have launched a widespread awareness campaign this week to warn residents of the con and told them to hang up immediately if they are called.
Officers said, so far this year, they had received around 50 calls from residents across the region, aged between 59 and 93, reporting they had been targeted - collectively losing around £10,000.
Ch Insp Adrian Atherley said police officers or genuine bank officials would never ask someone to divulge PIN numbers over the phone or send couriers round to collect cards.
He added how most people seemed to be getting the message by switching on to the scam and refusing to fall for the fraudsters’ patter.
"As a result of the campaign, people are reporting calls they received several days ago but dismissed as a scam.
"It’s important people contact police if they’ve been targeted so we can build up an accurate picture on the scale of the fraud, the tactics being used and potentially gather crucial information on offenders.
"These con artists are cold, calculated thieves.
"Their tactic is to scare and confuse elderly people into handing over sensitive information and they are convincing.
"If you’ve got elderly relatives, friends or neighbours please make sure they are aware of this scam," he added.
To report an incident call the West Midlands Police on 101.
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