West Kent residents warned over phone banking scam

Police are warning residents to be extra vigilant against fraudsters following a number of incidents where offenders have attempted to obtain bank details on the phone.

Posing as police officers, the offenders claim money has been taken from the victim’s bank account and then ask for details of their cards.

On 13 April,  a man claiming to be a police inspector from London phoned a woman living in Barchester Way, Tonbridge. He claimed someone had been arrested after her bank card was fraudulently used. The woman was told to put the phone down and call her bank immediately, which she did. She was then asked for details including her address, account number and sort code. She grew suspicious and after visiting her bank contacted Kent Police.

On 15 April a man claiming to be from Stratford Police attempted to gain bank details from a woman living in Tonbridge Road, Hildenborough. On the same day a resident from Upper Mill, East Malling was called and told her bank card had been fraudulently used in Selfridges. The caller on this occasion claimed he was from ‘London Police’. Neither of these victims give any of their bank details.

Tonbridge and Malling Inspector Mark Hutcheon said: ‘We have received at least ten reports of suspicious calls in the district this month, although thankfully none of the intended victims have been duped into passing on their bank details. Under no circumstances would a real police officer ask for credit cards or bank details over the phone, so it is vitally important to never give out this type of information.

‘I would like to remind residents, particularly the elderly, to remain vigilant of these scams and for family and friends to look out for those who are vulnerable. If you are suspicious about anyone who phones, or knocks on your door claiming to be a police officer, make a note of as much information as possible and contact Kent Police on 101 to report it. Do not give out any details and ask for a number to call them back. If you are calling your bank back, wait a few minutes to ensure that the phone line is clear, or better still dial from a different phone.'