New ‘fake police’ scam spreads across Ayrshire as almost £60,000 duped out of victims

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A nationwide scam which sees fraudsters impersonating police officers to con pensioners out of money has been reported across Ayrshire – with almost £60,000 duped out of victims in the region.

Reports of the organized scam have been made in Ayr, Prestwick, Kilmarnock and Irvine.

Over £300,000 has made its way into the pockets of criminals running the operation in Scotland with more than 30 reports being made to police across the country.

Earlier this month, cops in South Ayrshire revealed that £9,500 had been handed over to crooks by duped pensioners.

South Ayrshire victims’ ages have ranged from 70 to 85, with reports flagged up in Ayr, Prestwick and Mossblown.

It is understood victims are being lured into car parks to hand over cash after they receive a call from scammers claiming to be their bank or police and stating there is fraudulent activity on their account.

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Fraudsters impersonating officers are said to be doing so whilst in plain clothes during the intimidating exchanges.

Today, Police Scotland chiefs have confirmed that crimes have been reported between October 2021 and January 2022.

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A number of victims have also been identified across the Forth Valley, Fife, Lanarkshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Tayside and the Scottish Borders.

Police are urging anyone with information to come forward as they continue to warn people of the sick scam.

A leaflet drop is taking place to help educate communities on how police will engage with the public in person, over the phone and online.

Senior Ayrshire cops have regularly insisted that police will never ask for residents to withdraw cash.

Superintendent Hilary Sloan from the partnerships, prevention and community wellbeing division said: “While there are a number of ways police officers may look to contact you, please be mindful of this scam and always be suspicious of any unexpected contact.

“If you receive such a call, or visit, ask for the officer’s details and which department they work for. If the contact is by telephone, hang up and if possible use a different phone to contact the police service via 101, where you will speak to genuine members of Police Scotland and can request police officer verification.

“We began a national roll-out of new identification cards, which feature an up-to-date picture of the officer, along with other key information and various security enhancements that make them extremely difficult to replicate.

“This roll-out was started in October 2021 and all police officers should be able to provide this identification when carrying out legitimate police business.

“If you receive an email claiming to be from Police Scotland with a link to an external site to make a payment, this may also be fraudulent.

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“Be aware of phishing scams and verify that any link provided is genuine. If you receive something claiming to be from us requesting any form of payment, contact us via 101 to investigate this matter before parting with your money.

“We are treating this ongoing scam with the utmost seriousness and have officers around the country pursuing various lines of inquiry.”

Those with information can contact Police Scotland via 101. Alternatively, an anonymous report can be made to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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