Bogus police officers cheat victims out of £300,000 through bank scam

The impersonators are visiting victims at their homes or contacting them over the phone.

Bogus police officers cheat victims out of £300,000 through bank scam iStock
Police: Warning over fake officers.

Scammers impersonating police officers have conned victims across Scotland out of more than £300,000.

The public is being warned to remain vigilant over the recent banking scams which have been reported more than 30 times over the last four months.

People from Forth Valley, Fife, Lanarkshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Tayside, Ayrshire and the Borders have all been targeted since October last year.

The bogus officers either visit the victims at their homes or contact them over the phone claiming to be from the bank fraud department and tell them their account has been compromised.

They are then told to transfer money to another account online, or remove cash from an ATM which would later be collected by a police officer.

Several attempts have been unsuccessful, however more than £300,000 has been defrauded and Police Scotland is warning that more people will likely be targeted.

Officers investigating the incidents say inquiries to identify those responsible are ongoing and have asked anyone with information to come forward.

In the meantime, police are offering advice to stop people falling victim to the scam.

Superintendent Hilary Sloan from Partnerships, Prevention and Community Wellbeing Division said: “While there are a number of ways police officers may look to contact you, please be mindful of this scam and always be suspicious of any unexpected contact.

“If you receive such a call, or visit, ask for the officer’s details and which department they work for.

“If the contact is by telephone, hang up and if possible use a different phone to contact the police service via 101, where you will speak to genuine members of Police Scotland and can request police officer verification. 

“We began a national roll-out of new identification cards, which feature an up-to-date picture of the officer, along with other key information and various security enhancements that make them extremely difficult to replicate.

“This roll-out was started in October 2021 and all police officers should be able to provide this identification when carrying out legitimate police business.

“If you receive an email claiming to be from Police Scotland with a link to an external site to make a payment, this may also be fraudulent.

“Be aware of phishing scams and verify that any link provided is genuine. If you receive something claiming to be from us requesting any form of payment, contact us via 101 to investigate this matter before parting with your money.

“We are treating this ongoing scam with the utmost seriousness and have officers around the country pursuing various lines of inquiry.”

The known scams have taken place in: Prestwick, Ayr, Kilmarnock, Irvine, Motherwell, Blantyre, Dunblane, Linlithgow, Stirlingshire, Falkirk, Dumfries, North Berwick, Galashiels, Cupar, Forfar, Aberfeldy.