Sunday, 26 May 2019

Councillor targeted by telephone fraud gang

A COUNCILLOR was targeted by fraudsters trying to extract his bank details.

A COUNCILLOR was targeted by fraudsters trying to extract his bank details.

Paul Harrison, who represents the Sonning Common on South Oxfordshire District Council, was called by a man claiming to be from the Apple Store in London.

He was told there had been some unusual activity on his debit card and was asked to call the phone number on the back of his bank card.

Councillor Harrison, of Orchard Avenue, Sonning Common, said: “The call I made was picked up by their colleague, who then tried to get extra information and also mentioned Paddington Green police station.

“At that point I hung up and called the bank on my mobile only to find their fraud office had closed 10 minutes earlier. They said they would cancel my card but not until the next morning.

“I then called the police, who acknowledged that there had been a number of such complaints and gave me a number to call to report the attempted fraud.

“I was almost taken but then realised that the questions weren’t something you would put over the phone.”

Cllr Harrison spoke about his experience at a meeting of Sonning Common Parish Council and said that residents in their eighties in Henley and Hambleden had also been targeted in the past month.

In this scam, the victim receives calls from a fake police officer who says their personal details have been obtained by criminals.

He advises the victim to hang up and call their bank but he doesn’t disconnect the call so the victim continues to speak to him unknowingly.

Believing they are speaking to their bank, the victim provides their bank details to the suspect who then persuades them to put their bank cards in an envelope, which is collected by another man.

Parish councillor Valerie Ross said: “It’s really sad because a lot of elderly people who live on their own don’t appreciate that there are some really nasty people out there who target every penny you’re got.”

Police have three suspects, two of whom are described as being Asian and aged about 25. One was said to be 5ft 8in, large with black hair and was wearing a high-visibility jacket and dark trousers. The other man was described as slim and wearing dark clothing.

Anyone with information should call the Thames Valley Police non-emergency number, 101.

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