Police investigating a telephone scam in which fraudsters claim to be police officers have arrested three men.
Officers have been investigating a series of incidents across the Northumbria Police force area involving conmen calling members of the public over the phone and telling them their bank account is at risk of being hacked and money stolen.
They are told to contact their bank and withdraw all of the money from the account as soon as possible and that a police officer will come to their house, collect it and take statements.
They then arrange a date and time for an ‘officer’ or courier to come and pick the cash up and take a statement.
So far, three people have fallen victim to the con and handed over cash to the fraudsters.
Detectives arrested two men on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud on Thursday and a third man yesterday.
Police are still urging people to be on their guard and to take steps to avoid becoming a victim:
l Be aware that fraudsters often use techniques to hold your phone line open, so that when you try to dial out to verify the caller, they intercept and re-answer the call, claiming to be the bank or law enforcement;
l To ensure your phone has not been compromised, use a different phone line to verify the caller.
Where a second phone line is not available, try calling a family or friend on the line first, as the fraudster will find it difficult to impersonate a voice that is known to you;
l Never disclose your PIN or online/telephone banking log-in information or card reader codes to anyone, even if the caller claims to be from the bank or police.
Remember, banks never call and ask you to disclose these security details;
l If you receive a call requesting your PIN, card details or online/telephone banking log-in information, end the call immediately;
l If you receive a suspicious or unexpected call, always verify the caller by taking their phone number and getting it checked independently;
l Ensure elderly relatives and neighbours are aware of the fraud and crime prevention advice.
Report any suspicious phone calls to police on 101 ext 69191.