On Wednesday 10th July, a lady in Evenwood received a call on her landline from a man claiming to be a police officer from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
This scam aims to try and convince people that they owe HMRC money when, in fact, they don’t.
The unknown male told the woman that there was an ‘arrest warrant’ out for her regarding her outstanding tax liability, and that if she did not send cash to an address in London, then police would be round to arrest her.
HMRC would never make such calls and would never ask for sums of money in cash.
However, she followed his instructions and sent more than £2,000 of her holiday savings to an address given by the caller.
Shortly after sending the money, the female then began to wonder if she had been scammed and so she called the police via 101.
PC Lorraine Nelson, from Bishop Auckland response team, attended and spoke to the woman, who was extremely distressed.
After a few hours, PC Nelson managed to trace the package containing the cash to a distribution centre in Gateshead.
The package was intercepted by the police and the money was given back to the victim.
On hearing the good news, the woman thanked PC Nelson, telling her she was extremely relieved and that she would be able to sleep that night.
PC Nelson said:
“I ended up doing a 14 hour shift, but it was worth every minute knowing we’d prevented the scammers from getting the lady’s holiday savings.”
A spokesperson for Durham Police said:
‘We want to take this opportunity to remind people that genuine police officers or HMRC would never contact you requesting cash in this way.
‘Only give out your personal or financial details to use a service that you have given your consent to, that you trust and that you are expecting to be contacted by.
‘Never assume that a phone call is authentic, and if you’re unsure, always hang up straightaway’.
If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at http://www.actionfraud.police.uk