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Coronavirus (COVID-19): the policing response and what you need to know

Phone fraud alert for North Somerset

Man on the phone with text it's OK to say no

We’re asking people with vulnerable elderly family and friends to check in with them after reports of so-called “courier fraud” in North Somerset.

Between Wednesday 25 November and Thursday 3 December there were five incidents reported, with four happening on Tuesday and Wednesday. All have involved calls to people in their 70s, 80s or 90s living in Clevedon or Portishead.

In each case someone has telephoned impersonating a police officer. They claim the householder’s bank account has been used for crime and insist on cash being withdrawn, which they say they need as “evidence” and is collected from the house.

Sadly two men in their 80s have handed over cash to the fraudsters after being contacted on Tuesday 1 December.

One described the man who collected the cash as in his late 20s or early 30s, about 5ft 10ins tall, of medium build with black hair in a ponytail and wearing dark trousers and a yellow zipped jacket.

The other said the visitor was a “short skinny man” with “immaculate” dark hair.

Neither householder saw a vehicle when the money was collected, between 3.45pm and 4pm on Tuesday.

If you were in the Kenn Road or Thackeray Avenue area of Clevedon on Tuesday afternoon call 101 and quote reference 5220270999 if you:

  • saw anyone acting suspiciously
  • saw someone matching either description getting into or out of a vehicle
  • have any dashcam or smart doorbell footage which could help

Thankfully, two of the householders refused to engage with the scammers and reported the incident to police without any loss, while bank staff prevented and reported the fifth fraud.

Officers  want you to warn your vulnerable elderly relatives and friends to be alert to this type of scam, which can be prevented.

These fraudsters can be very convincing but please don’t discuss your finances with anyone who calls you out of the blue, even if they say they’re a police officer or from your bank. Genuine callers will be happy to make an appointment for you to visit them at a branch or police station.

It’s important to remember that police and bank staff will never ask you to withdraw or transfer money or to hand over cash, your card or your PIN. If you get this sort of call you should hang up immediately and report it, always allowing time for the line to clear before making another call.

Genuine police officers and bank staff will want you to have support from your family and will encourage you to tell them.

There’s lots of information about fraudsters and scams on the Action Fraud website.

If you think you have been defrauded you can report it by calling 0300 123 2050 or on the Action Fraud website