Police in Eastbourne have issued an urgent warning to residents not to be taken in by a current wave of crime in which phone callers posing as police officers or bank staff ask for bank and card details.
Sussex Police said it is particularly concerned about the elderly and anyone living alone.
A police spokesman said, “There has been a recent rise in this crime across the Sussex area, and elsewhere in the country.
“The fraudsters call the intended victim claiming to be from either the police or a bank.
“They tell them their card details have been fraudulently used and that they need to act urgently to protect themselves. They suggest that they hang up and ring the bank or police back to ensure that the call is genuine.
“Don’t be fooled - they stay on the line and pretend to be the police or the bank. They then tell the intended victim to key in or read out their PIN number.
“They then send a taxi or courier, who may know nothing about the crime, to collect the bank card. With this and the PIN they will then have full access to spend your money.”
Sergeant Gareth Evans said, “Under no circumstances would the police or your bank request your PIN number over the telephone or arrange collection of your bank cards from your home address in this manner. Never give out your bank details to someone who has contacted you on your home phone unsolicited.
“If you have any suspicions, please do not use the phone you have just been called on to contact the police or your bank. If possible use another phone to contact the police to report it, or to contact a friend to relative to alert them. Alternatively, wait for at least half-an-hour before trying to ring.
“I would urge anyone reading or hearing this message to pass it on to any friends and relatives who may not be aware of this particular type of targeted fraud, to prevent any vulnerable friends or family members from becoming victims.
“Eastbourne Police want to encourage everyone to continue to resist these callers, so if you have any information, whether you have received similar calls or know someone who has been a victim of this crime, contact Sussex Police via 101 or email email@example.com quoting Operation Edisto. You can also call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
For online advice on fraud prevention, click here