From Cambridgeshire Police
Last week I sent out a warning about the fake police officer scam. If you have not seen this on BBC News can I update you that six men who were arrested on Wednesday, April 23 have today (Friday, April 25) been charged and remanded in custody.
The men were arrested following a number of warrants being carried out across North London by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU)*. These warrants were designed to target those suspected of being involved in phone scams in Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Surrey.
A large number of officers from Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk took part in the warrants at seven addresses. They were supported by the Metropolitan Police Service.
The following men have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud:
• Ibrahem Charary, aged 18, from Stanhope Street in North London
• Gael Masidi, aged 19, from Royal College Street in North London
• Marlon Thompson, aged 18, from Margery Street, Islington
• Abdullah Hajji, aged 19, from Flaxmen Terrace, Camden
• Langangi Amani, aged 19, from Lloyd Baker Street in North London
• Rakeem Worthingon, aged 18, from Islington
All men appeared at Cambridge's Remand Court today (Friday, April 25) and were remanded in custody. They are due to appear at Cambridge Crown Court next Friday (May 2).
Detective Inspector Danny Lawrence who led Wednesday's operation said: "Our robust approach to those suspected of being involved in phone scams will continue but I would like to remind the public that, whilst arrests are continuing to be made, people need to be aware that phone scams are still operating across the region.
Please follow the below advice:
If you are suspicious about a telephone conversation you should end the call and contact police via the non-emergency number, 101. Remember to use a mobile phone or a friend's phone or wait at least five minutes before calling to ensure you aren't reconnected to the offender.
Please also remember that your bank and the police would:
NEVER ask for your bank account details or PIN number over the phone.
NEVER ask you to withdraw money and send it to them.
NEVER ask you to send them your bank cards or any other personal property."
*ERSOU was established in 2010 to deliver an increased response to tackling the threat of organised crime across the six police forces in the Eastern Region of the United Kingdom and to provide specialist covert policing capability to law enforcement.
The unit is made up of resources from across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, to identify, disrupt and dismantle organised crime groups impacting on the Eastern Region. The unit creates additional specialist capability across the region through effective partnership and collaboration to make the region a place hostile to organised crime.
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Fraudsters posing as a police officer have conned two people in Ashton, Peterborough, in the past fortnight in a phone scam. We are continuing to warn people not to fall foul of the scam which has been taking place over the past four months.
The phoney police officers are making claims including:
• A criminal has been arrested with a substantial sum of money on them and a list of names and addresses, including yours.
• Your bank is under investigation for putting fraudulent bank notes into your bank account.
They then advise the victim to call their bank using a number on the back of their bank card, or the police on 101. The victim hangs up but the caller does not and the call is not terminated. As a result and without realising it, the victim starts talking to the fraudster again, thinking they have called their bank or the police.
Following a conversation, the offender either claims he will need to examine the victim's bank card and will need their PIN number as it might be compromised or that they should withdraw several thousands of pounds so that the ‘police’ can forensically check the bank notes as part of their investigation.
The caller says he will send a courier or taxi to their home to collect the card or money. A smartly dressed man or innocently involved courier or taxi driver will arrive at the victim’s home. The cash or the bank card and PIN number is then taken and used to withdraw cash.
This scam is an issue that is hitting Cambridgeshire Police and a number of other police forces across the country. The fraudsters are very persuasive and convincing so the victims don’t realise it is a scam until it is too late.
We are working closely with other police forces, banks, post offices and other partner agencies to raise awareness of the scam and remind people to be suspicious if they receive a phone call similar to this.
Banks will never ask for your PIN number over the phone and you should never give it out. If you're in doubt about anyone you are speaking to on the phone, hang up and ensure the call has been terminated before ringing back on an official number. BT advise callers should wait at least 10 minutes to ensure the line has been cleared. You should never give any bank cards or cash to anyone at your door, even if they say they are from your bank or the police.
To report an incident in action always call 999, if it is after the event call Action Fraud on 0300 1232040. Please help us by forwarding this email to family or friends and keep an eye out for any vulnerable or elderly person within your community.