Published: 12:50, 22 January 2020
| Updated: 12:50, 22 January 2020
Warnings have been issued after a recent string of scams saw fraudsters pose as police officers in order to con pensioners out of thousands.
Police are urging residents to remain vigilant following a hoax call made to an elderly woman in West Kingsdown on Monday.
The pensioner was at home when the phone rang at around 12.30pm with the caller saying he was a police officer from Paddington station.
He gave the victim a false name and police ID number, and claimed her bank card had been used fraudulently at a department store in London.
She was falsely informed two people had been arrested and officers believed her details had been cloned.
The Sevenoaks resident avoided giving out any bank details and passed the phone to her husband, who challenged the caller before hanging up.
It follows a spate of similar incidents in which elderly and vulnerable people have been targeted.
Last month a couple in their 70s from the Riverside Park area of Gravesend fell victim to a scam from a fraudster also claiming to be a London copper.
The OAPs were asked to provide their mobile phone numbers and then drive to numerous banks and cash machines withdrawing large amounts of money under the guise they were assisting with a covert operation.
Both were then visited by a man described as Asian, in his early 20s, around 5ft 9ins tall and wearing a plain black tracksuit, who arrived in a black Citroen car, collected the money and left
Chief Inspector John Kirby says the force had recorded a series of incidents across the county in recent months mirroring this one.
It is likely these crimes were being committed by the same offenders.
He said: "We have a dedicated fraud team who work hard to detect this sort of crime but people need to be aware of how to spot the signs of a fraudulent phone call.
"While the individual targeted in West Kingsdown was quick-thinking, it is easy to be fooled by these convincing criminals and have your finances put at risk.
"Remember, a police force will never ask a member of the public for their bank details, or money, over the phone so you should never give them out in this way. A police officer will also never ask for any money, or other items, to be handed over to them or a courier.
"If you receive one of these calls end it immediately and wait at least five minutes before using your telephone in order to clear your line from the scammer.
"We also ask for as many people as possible to share this information, so we can protect residents from this crime.’
To report incidents of courier fraud, call police on 101 or Action Fraud on 0300 1232040.
You can also report non-urgent crimes online: www.kent.police.uk
The matter may also be reported to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.
More by this authorSean Delaney