Keep your money safe Sussex Police Fraud Newsletter December 2019

Sussex Police have asked us to pass on the information in their newsletter so here it is for information. Don’t be tricked at this busy time of year.

“Each month we see many incidents of fraudsters targeting our residents in an attempt to defraud them. We’re working hard to prevent this and support vulnerable victims of fraud or scams. By following our tips and encouraging family, friends and colleagues to do so too, you can reduce the risk of becoming a victim.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Richardson, Surrey & Sussex Police Economic Crime Unit.

Police phone number re-created by scammers Last week a woman contacted us to say she’d been called by someone saying they were from HMRC, who told the woman she owed money and would be arrested. Luckily the woman saw the call for what it was – a scam – but when she attempted to call the number back, it came through the Surrey Police! The scammer had managed to spoof the force’s number.

Fraudsters will stop at nothing to trick us. Even if a caller claims to be from somewhere official, never take them at their word and always check their identity, using a different phone line if you can.

Parking your car?

Don’t be tricked by criminals We’ve heard of a couple of instances of elderly people being approached by a man as they go to pay for a parking ticket. The man claims the machine will only take cards and then, when they insert their card, he distracts the victim and pockets the card, saying the machine has swallowed it. Before the victim can cancel their card, a significant amount of money is withdrawn. When we put this on our social media feed, a few people replied to say they’d heard of this happening elsewhere, including in Hampshire and Buckinghamshire, so please be aware and alert when buying parking tickets, wherever you are.

Similarly, a 75-year-old man parked his vehicle on a street in Sussex. An unknown man approached and told the victim he had been caught by a smart parking ticket camera which reads number plates and calculates how long a car has stayed. The man told the victim he owed £100 for the fine, led the victim to a nearby bank cash machine and made him withdraw cash. Thankfully a concerned member of the public approached the victim was able to confirm there were no such parking cameras in the area.

The fake names fraudsters are using this month:-

. We’re hearing the names Martin Rose, Martin Anderson, DC (detective constable) Gillingham and DC Plough used as fake names. Suspects have often said they are calling from Aldershot or Hounslow Police Station or Hammersmith Police in recent reports.

We hope alarm bells ring if you hear any of these… although as you already know, loud alarm bells should ring immediately if you or a loved one is contacted by phone out of the blue by someone claiming to be from a bank or the police, especially if they go on to ask for your money or details.

We’ve also repeatedly heard the name Gary Turner used by a rogue trader fraudster who knocks on doors and claims to be unblocking drains in the area, even ‘kindly’ offering to take his elderly victims to the bank so they can pay him”

So these are the things to look for.