UK Finance has warned of a scam in which consumers are being contacted by fraudsters posing as police officers and bank officials.
The trade body says members of the public are receiving telephone calls from criminals claiming that they are investigating a fraud at a local bank branch where staff are suspected of being complicit, including issuing fake bank notes.
As part of the scam, the individual is requested to visit the branch and withdraw a substantial sum, often thousands of pounds, of the supposedly counterfeit cash to hand over to the ‘police’ for ‘analysis’, UK Finance explains.
The victim is assured that the money will be deposited back into their account after the operation is complete. However, once the money is passed over, the fraudster disappears with the cash.
The criminal instructs their victim not to discuss the case with anyone in the branch, giving them plausible explanations as to why they are withdrawing the money. As a result, despite being questioned by the bank staff, the victim takes out the cash, convinced that the staff are part of a fraud.
In another version of the scam, the criminal convinces the victim to transfer money to a so-called ‘safe account’ to protect their funds from the ‘corrupt’ bank staff. However, the account is in fact controlled by the criminal.
UK Finance is reminding the public that the police and banks will never ask members of the public to become part of an anti-fraud operation or to transfer money to a ‘safe account’ for fraud reasons.
UK Finance head of fraud and financial crime prevention Katy Worobec says: “This is a particularly nasty scam as it plays on people’s public-spirited nature to assist the police. We are receiving a growing number of reports of it occurring, with people often losing large amounts of money, so it’s vital that everyone is aware. Remember, the police will never ask you to withdraw money and hand it over to them for safe-keeping.”