Kirklees residents are being urged by the police to remain cautious as there have been reports of scammers attempting to deceive people by posing as police officers to extort money.
The West Yorkshire Police Economic Crime Unit is currently investigating two incidents that occurred in July in the Kirklees Rural area. In these incidents, the suspects contacted victims via phone and attempted to convince them to hand over cash, claiming it was for a police investigation.
To ensure public awareness, law enforcement officers have emphasised that legitimate police officials will never request a victim’s bank details or ask them to withdraw money.
The scam, known as “courier fraud,” involved the suspects calling victims and pretending to be police officers. They falsely informed the victims that their bank details had been compromised by criminals.
The scammers manipulated the victims into participating in a fictitious “operation” supposedly aimed at gathering evidence or identifying the culprits responsible for a non-existent offence. To make the ruse more believable, the fraudsters provided the victims with fake police badge numbers and crime reference numbers.
As part of their deception, the scammers instructed the victims to place their landline phone handset down and then pick it back up to call 999, making it seem like they were contacting the actual police. However, the suspects remained on the line during the call, tricking the victims into thinking they were speaking with law enforcement.
During the scams, the suspects showed up in plain clothes, falsely claiming to be undercover officers, and took money from the victims. One of the suspects involved was described as being in his 20s, approximately 5’6” tall, slim, with afro hair that was short on top and shorter on the sides. He was seen wearing a black jacket with a collar, a red and white lanyard, dark trainers, and black tracksuit bottoms.
Police authorities urge the public to stay vigilant and cautious about such scams and to be aware that genuine officers will never engage in such behaviour. If anyone encounters suspicious activity or receives similar calls, they are advised to report it immediately to the local authorities.
DS Paul Hutchinson of the force’s Police Economic Crime Unit, said: “We are investigating two recent offences of this kind from the Kirklees Rural area targeting elderly residents, and want to make residents aware of what is a complex and convincing scam.
“These courier fraud offences are being investigated as a priority and we are doing everything we can to identify and arrest suspects and support victims and witnesses.
He added: “I want to stress that officers will never call anyone asking them to either withdraw cash from their bank or buy any valuable items so they can look after them for the victims. We will never ask you to verify your details or your PIN, send a courier to collect your cash, bank cards or any other valuable goods or ask you to lie to your bank.
“If anyone receives any calls from individuals purporting to be a police officer or bank official and they are unsure if the callers are genuine, we advise them to end the call.
“Put the receiver down and wait for several minutes. Then pick the receiver up and ensure you can hear a dialling tone before dialling 101 for the police or contacting their bank. Or preferably call back from a different telephone.
“Anyone who has been a victim of one of these frauds or who can assist enquiries is asked to contact the Economic Crime Unit on 101 or online at www.westyorkshire.police.uk/101livechat referencing crime number 13230421915.”