Norfolk's PCC praises scam victim for her bravery in speaking out
Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green has praised a victim of courier fraud who has spoken out about being scammed out of nearly £60,000 in a bid to warn others.
The 65-year-old, who wishes to remain anonymous, has shared her experience in the hope of helping others and raise awareness of the sophisticated scam.
In the last two months, police in Norfolk have received more than 100 reports about fraudulent calls from suspects claiming to be police officers. The cold-callers will make efforts to defraud victims of money, asking them to withdraw large sums of cash in connection with an investigation.
The victim, who lives in Breckland, was targeted in September when she received a telephone call on her landline from an unknown number. The caller claimed to be a police officer working on behalf of the Fraud Prevention Investigation Team in London.
Recalling the incident, the victim said: "I had grown up trusting the police and had no reason to think this was a scam. I had already verified that this was legitimate by calling the generic 999 number and so I agreed to help the officer with their investigation.”
Speaking of the impact, she added: "Although I know that this was a sophisticated crime, that often many people fall for, I cannot help blaming myself and I often feel frustrated and emotional about it. I will no longer be able to have the future I envisioned and the financial implications are major. It has undoubtedly changed the way I trust people and the world.”
PCC Lorne Green, who commissions a countywide support service for scams victims, praised the victim for sharing her experience in order to help others protect themselves.
"What this Breckland resident has experienced is truly shocking. Her story highlights just how complex and convincing these scams can be and also the impact they have on their victims’ lives. Her bravery in speaking out in order to help raise awareness and prevent others finding themselves in her shoes is to be commended.
"As evidenced by this case, the emotional and financial hurt of being a victim of a scam can be massive. Key to preventing that harm is sharing information and advice, and learning how to keep ourselves safe.
"Who among us has not had that phone call, email or knock on the door by parties unknown seeking heartlessly to steal from us?
"Don’t brush off suspicious approaches; report them. If you’ve been a victim, speak out. Not only will you help the police with their investigations to put these criminals where they belong, but you may help your family, friends and fellow Norfolk residents avoid the hurtful exploitation you’ve endured.
"And if you’ve been affected by a scam, please don’t suffer in silence. The Norfolk Scam Prevention Service is there to help you.”
The service, commissioned by the PCC and supported by the partners who make up the Norfolk Against Scams Partnership, helped 1,200 people affected by scams last year. Feedback from those using the service shows it is helping people feel more confident, safer and better placed to cope with the impact of what they have experienced.
Kami Al-Faris, service coordinator for the Norfolk Scam Prevention Service, said: "Sadly, in the last three months, we have seen an increasing number of reported incidents of elderly people being targeted by scammers impersonating police officers and the National Crime Agency, as well as scams directly relating to Coronavirus, including fake Track and Trace messages and false requests for information from local or national authorities.
"We have worked with victims facing these types of scams who have lost up to £390,000; whereas some victims who have not lost any money, may instead have their data or privacy compromised.
"We can help victims cope and recover from their experience, providing practical advice and information so they can get back their confidence and feel safe again. If you have been affected by a scam and would like to talk in confidence with a specialist member of our team phone 101 followed by extension 5005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Norfolk Police are reminding residents that your bank or the police will NEVER ask for your PIN, bank card or bank account details over the phone. Never give these details to anybody.
Further advice includes:
- Neither the police nor the banks will send a courier to collect money from you.
- Always request Photo ID and if unsure call the police.
- If you're asked to telephone a bank, then always do it on a different phone to the one you were contacted on.
- Fraudsters will keep the line open and have been known to play ringtones, hold music and a recorded message down the phone so the victim believes they are making a call to a legitimate number. Ensure you can hear a dialling tone before calling police or use a friend or neighbour's telephone instead.
- Do not rush into complying to the scammers demands / requests.
- If you have already given your bank details over the phone or handed your card details to a courier, call you bank straight away to cancel the card.