Older residents urged to be on alert for phone scams

Release Date: 26 September 2017

Richmond Council and the Metropolitan Police are urging people to be vigilant of potential phone scams, with £100,000 lost in the London Borough of Richmond in the last six months and at least 70 people falling victim to a scam.

The Council has partnered with the police to release a fraud prevention campaign including producing a video featuring a victim of a scam.

The scam typically involves a person claiming to be calling from the police and investigating a crime. They often ask for bank account details or help in undercover operations by getting the person to withdraw large sums of money from their account.

Local resident, Mrs Jones, received just such a call. She said:

“My friend and I were about to go out when the phone rang with the caller claiming to be from New Scotland Yard’s Fraud Department. They asked whether I’d lost my card and I said no.

“He told me someone up north was taking money from my account and would I help in an undercover operation to catch them.

“They asked me to go and withdraw £7,000 form my account but the bank refused. The scammer told me to go to Richmond to buy a Rolex. I did what they asked because people in my age group completely trust the police – I didn’t for a second think it was a scam.”

Luckily for Mrs Jones her bank was vigilant enough to stop her withdrawal and recognise a scam but some people may not be as lucky.

If you do receive a call like this police are encouraging you to keep in mind the acronym FRAUD:

  • Find out what the caller wants
  • Request their name and warrant number
  • Always call 101 to check the information
  • Use a different phone
  • Don’t be rushed or give the person anything.

Cllr Mark Boyle, Cabinet member for Community Safety said:

“We have seen an increase these kinds of scams over the last year, so we are encouraging residents to remain really vigilant.

“If you do receive an unsolicited call, don’t be rushed into giving away any personal information, and if you think you’ve been a victim of a phone scam you should contact the police.”

DC Peter Evans said:

“This type of crime is very prevalent in Richmond at the moment with about 70 cases in the last six months.

“We want to encourage people to think F.R.A.U.D when you get an unsolicited phone call and exercise caution if you feel the caller is behaving suspiciously.”

Police and the Council are encouraging people to raise awareness of the scam among their friends and family. If you think you’ve been a victim of a phone scam you should contact Police.

Watch the video

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Lyle Skipsey on 020 8487 5182.

Reference: P440/17

Updated: 2 October 2017