SEFTON residents are being warned of a new scam circulating where the fraudster is posing as a police officer to try and trick people to obtain money from them.
Merseyside Police say the trickster is calling residents in Southport, Bootle and other parts of the region and pretending to be a fake officer named ‘Detective Constable Matthew Phillips’ who operates from police stations in an attempt to deceive the person out of their savings.
The scam is called ‘courier fraud’ where the scammer attempts to win trust by getting the victim to call 999. The fake operator then pretends to transfer the call to the bogus police officer, DC Matthew Phillips. Another tactic fraudsters are using is asking victims to post the money to them through the postal system.
To check if a call from a police officer is genuine then call Merseyside Police on 101 to confirm their identity.
If anyone has been on the phone to an unknown caller and are suspicious then hang up and wait five minutes before calling police. This is because fraudsters can stay on the line and keep it open after the victim has hung up.
Detective Inspector Stephen Ball, from the Economic Crime Unit at Merseyside Police, said: “We have received around eight reports from elderly people from across the region including West Derby, Bootle, Southport and Wirral, who have said they have been called by a fraudster pretending to be a police officer.
“In some instances the trickster claims to be calling from Albert Road Police Station in Southport and in others he has said he is calling from Upton Police Station.
“Sadly one person became a victim to the scam and handed over their hard-earned savings to them.
“Police officers would never call anyone and ask them to hand over money or bank cards in this way, and we urge members of the public to be vigilant and not fall prey to the tricksters.
“We would also never use 999 to verify details which is only used in cases of emergency.
“If you become suspicious of the caller then please call a relative or call the police before providing anything, including information, to a cold caller.”
Merseyside Police is supporting a campaign run by the charity Crimestoppers to raise awareness of what courier fraud is.
Mick Duthie, Director of Operations at the charity Crimestoppers, said: “As the cost-of-living crisis bites, there’s never been a more important time to warn people about this sickening scam that targets the vulnerable. Courier fraudsters need to be exposed, which is why we’re running this campaign to highlight the dangers and appeal for information.
“Please help us stamp out courier fraud. If you know someone who is responsible but want to stay anonymous, tell our charity what you know. Call freephone 0800 555 111 or visit Crimestoppers-uk.org. Together, we can help protect potential future victims from being defrauded in this particularly horrible way.”