An elderly woman duped by fraudsters has spoken out about how she was conned into revealing her bank details over the phone to a bogus police officer and the bank.
Detectives investigating a spate of frauds across the county are urging people to be extra vigilant after being targeted by bank card fraudsters.
The offenders have been making phone calls to elderly or vulnerable people, claiming their card has been used without their knowledge.
The suspect tells the victim to call their bank but someone intercepts the call they then obtain all the information about the account they need such as a PIN number and tell the victim they will come and collect the card from them.
The suspect then uses the card to withdraw cash.
The fraudsters are often very convincing and often purport to be from a reliable organisation, including national retailers and police.
Kent Police is linking up to 60 reports across the county in the last two months with scams reported in Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Dover, Canterbury, Herne Bay, Ramsgate, Chatham and Gravesend.
A significant number reported were in Dartford.
A pensioner that was duped by the fraudsters at her home in Princes Avenue, Dartford, has spoken out after the conmen took £330 from her card.
The 76-year-old said: "I had a phone call and the young man on the phone said he was from the police and that he had picked up three lads that had my bank details.
"He told me to call the number on the back of my card and report it to the bank, which I did.
"What I didn’t realise was that he hadn’t put the phone down so when someone else came on the line it was one of those carrying out the scam. I thought I was speaking to the bank.
"The man on the phone told me that he would close the account. He kept me on the phone for about two hours and wouldn’t let me get off to find some details. He told me that he wasn’t allowed to take my PIN number, instead I was asked to input it on the phone.
"Without realising it I had given him my details. He then told me it wasn’t working so the card would need to be collected.
"He stayed with me on the phone until a courier arrived. He took two cards and I later found out that £300 was taken shortly after and then a further £30 the next day."
The fraudsters told the victim that they would visit her the next day at 4.30pm. It was then, when they didn’t arrive, that the victim realised what had happened.
In two recent incidents, the fraudsters have called elderly residents claiming to be from the bank.
On September 23, a woman in Street End, Canterbury was contacted by someone claiming to be from the bank.
The victim was told someone was using her account fraudulently and that she should withdraw £2,000 immediately and someone would be sent to collect it.
A similar scam was tried on September 19 when a 74-year-old woman in Herne Bay was contacted by fraudsters claiming to be from a bank’s fraud department.
They claimed the victim’s card had been used fraudulently and she was told to call a different number.
The conmen stayed on the phone, without the victim realising, and asked her to input her pin on the phone. They stole £45,000 from the account.
The incidents are now under investigation by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Economic Crime Unit.
Detective Chief Inspector Keith Davies, who heads up the unit, said: "Fortunately more people are becoming aware of this crime and there have been a number of cases where these fraudsters were foiled. But, sadly, others are still being tricked out of large sums of money.
"The actions of these thieves are nothing short of despicable. They prey on the elderly or vulnerable people purporting to be from the police or a national retailer, before stealing large sums of money.
"If you are suspicious about anyone who telephones you claiming to be a police officer make a note of as much information as possible, do not give out any detail and ask for a number to call them back.
"Then contact Kent Police to report it. Never hand over any bank cards to someone who calls at your door or give any information about your bank accounts out over the phone.
"Police, banks and other reputable organisation will never ask for details such as bank card PIN numbers in this way so don’t provide them.
"I would ask elderly people to be vigilant of these scams and for family and friends to look out for those who are vulnerable."
If you have information call Kent Police on 01622 654368 or Kent Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.