Scam watch: Be wary of ‘fake’ police asking to check your cash

30 November 2017

Consumers are being warned to be wary of police officers who may not be who they seem.

UK Finance – a trade association that represents members of the banking, finance and credit industry – is warning of a new scam where criminals gain their victims’ confidence by purporting to be the police.

As part of the scam, victims are asked to assist officers in an undercover operation to catch fraudsters.

The victims are told that complicit staff members at their local bank are issuing counterfeit notes. The victim is instructed to make a large withdrawal from their account, which is then handed over to the so-called ‘police’ for analysis.

Victims are told their money will be paid back into their account, however as soon as the fraudsters get the notes – which are not fake – they disappear without a trace.

A similar version of the scam sees victims being asked to transfer funds into a ‘safe account’ where it will be protected from criminal staff at the bank.

Victims are usually approached over the phone by fraudsters who claim to be members of the police. Alternatively, they may say are part of the bank’s fraud team.

The police and your bank will never ask you to withdraw money

Consumers are being advised that neither the police or their bank will ever ask consumers to assist in an undercover operation, or ask them to withdraw money for safe keeping.

Any texts, emails or phone calls from people claiming to be the police, asking for financial or personal details should be treated with caution and reported to Action Fraud and your bank.

If you think you’ve been a victim of this fraud, also contact Action Fraud and your bank immediately.

Katy Worobec, head of fraud and financial crime prevention, cyber and data sharing at UK Finance says:

“This is a particularly nasty scam as it plays on people’s public-spirited nature to assist the police. We are receiving a growing number of reports of it occurring, with people often losing large amounts of money, so it’s vital that everyone is aware. Remember, the police will never ask you to withdraw money and hand it over to them for safe-keeping.”

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