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Formby residents targeted by fraudsters posing as Police Officers

A number of Formby residents have contacted the Formby Bubble after they were targeted by a scam and drawn in. Merseyside police would like to make everyone aware and alert them to a growing scam in which fraudsters pose as police officers and ask victims to take part in fake undercover investigations. They are contacting people usually by phone saying they are from the police, or in some cases, the fraud team from their bank.

They claim they are investigating a fraud at a local bank branch where staff may be involved, including issuing fake bank notes, and asks their target to help in the operation. As part of the scam, the target is requested to visit the branch and withdraw a substantial amount, often thousands of pounds of the supposedly counterfeit money to hand over to the police for "analysis".

The target is assured that the money will then be deposited back into their account once the operation is complete. However, once the money is passed over, the money and fraudsters disappear.

The target is instructed not to discuss the case with anyone else and give a very plausible explanation about not discussing with bank staff as they could be part of a fraud. Another version of the fraud is to transfer the money to a safe account to protect their cash from "corrupt" bank staff. The new account is controlled by the criminals.

Formby resident who wanted to remain anonymous said: "When they rang me, they were so convincing, I genuinely thought it was the Police at Scotland Yard. I wanted to help. I drew the money out of my account and gave them the serial numbers which they said were all false. They then told me I had to give the money to a courier and it was only then that I became suspicious. These people are professionals and experts at what they do, they are very believable. Please do not be drawn in by what they say. Just hang the phone up. I feel really stupid for being taken in but, this has happened to numerous people. It wasn't just one phone call, they phoned numerous times and were totally convincing."

Sergeant Keith Burke from Merseyside Police, Community Engagement Unit says " It is vital that everyone is aware of the tactics criminals use. This is a very nasty scam as it plays on people's good nature and public spirit in helping the police and victims.

Banks and the Police will never ask you to assist with anti fraud operations, withdraw or transfer money for analysis or safekeeping. Be aware of any calls, texts or emails claiming to be from the police asking for your personal or financial details. If you are approached or feel something is suspicious, hang up the phone and don't reply. Then report it to the police on 101, Action Fraud and your bank on their legitimate advertised number."

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