POLICE are warning Knutsford residents to be vigilant following a spate of phone scam incidents.

Cheshire Police are aware of several incidents in Knutsford, Lymm and Warrington relating to fraudsters phoning elderly people and telling them their bank cards had been compromised and need to be cancelled.

The offenders attempt to gain the trust of victims by claiming to be from a bank or posing as police officers. 

PC James Read:  “Never assume a caller is genuine just because they hold some information about you.  Criminals may already have some basic information, such name, address and account details to try to make the call appear legitimate.”

Police said offenders advise victims to hang up and ring the bank or police back to ensure the call is genuine.  The offender stays on the line, sometimes passing the call to another person so the caller thinks they are genuine.

They then tell the victim that a courier will pick up the cards and that there will be a charge for this.  The cards are then picked up from the victim’s address and used by the offenders to steal money from their account. 

PC Read said: “Not only do they take money from your account; they charge you a fee for the privilege.

“Don’t be afraid to put the phone down on someone if you are unsure about handing over details.”

PC Read reminded residents that banks never call and ask for the account-holder to disclose their four-digit card Pin, ask for them to withdraw money to hand over to the bank or transfer money to another account. 

He added:  “Always be wary of cold callers who suggest you hang up the phone and call you back.  Remember that it takes two people to terminate a call so try and use a different phone line if you are asked to ring back.

“If you think you’ve already been a victim of this scam, contact your bank or card company immediately.”