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‘Keep a knife in your bed’ - Pensioner threatened by fake police officers after refusing to withdraw cash

PUBLISHED: 14:55 08 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:55 08 March 2018

File photo as cold callers pretending to be police officers are continuing to target elderly and vulnerable people in Norfolk. Picture John Stillwell/PA Wire

File photo as cold callers pretending to be police officers are continuing to target elderly and vulnerable people in Norfolk. Picture John Stillwell/PA Wire

‘Keep a knife in your bed’ - That’s what cold callers pretending to be police officers told a pensioner after she refused to withdraw thousands of pounds.

The 76-year-old woman from Mulbarton was the latest victim in a string of cases in which scammers claiming to be from the police have conned elderly people into withdrawing large sums of cash.

The victim, who wants to remain anonymous, said the incident left her feeling “vulnerable and quite distressed”.

She received a call on Wednesday from men claiming to be detective inspectors from the fraud squad.

They told the victim the call was in relation to counterfeit money and they had someone in custody. They said to help with their enquires she had to withdraw £2,300 from the bank and two police officers would collect the money “late at night” to check the serial numbers.

The victim put the phone down, sensing something was wrong, but they called back straight away.

“I challenged them and asked why would the bank have counterfeit money,” she said. “They tried to tell me that they thought someone in the bank was a bit dodgy.”

When she again refused they told her she could be prosecuted for not helping with police inquiries and threatened her.

“They said I should lock my windows and doors and sleep with a knife in my bed,” she said. “When I asked if they were threatening me they said ‘we don’t threaten people, we are the police.’”

After the call ended the victim called the police and Action Fraud.

“It was horrible and I felt stupid for listening to them for so long but they said they were the police and you are meant to trust them,” she said. “When I came off the phone I felt really vulnerable and was quite distressed.

“I just hope these cruel criminals that are doing this to people are caught.”

The incident was the latest in a number of cases across Norfolk which have seen some victims hand over items of gold and thousands of pounds.

Detective Inspector Chris Burgess said: “I would ask people with vulnerable relatives, friends or neighbours to make sure they are aware of this type of scam.”

Anyone with concerns about such calls should contact Norfolk Constabulary on the non-emergency number 101 or 999 if a crime is in progress. Alternatively, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Advice from police

• Never give out personal information about your bank account to anybody over the phone.

• If someone calls claiming to be a police officer, ask for their identification number and police force. Hang up and call 101 using a different phone. If you can’t use a different phone, wait at least five minutes before calling back. A genuine police officer will not mind waiting while you check.

• Police and banks will never ask you to give out personal details such as account numbers or PIN numbers.

• If you have given out information which could compromise your bank account security in any way, call your bank to cancel your cards as soon as possible.

• Never hand over money to someone at the door to be sent off elsewhere.

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