On Wednesday 10 February 2021, a Sevenoaks resident received a call from a fraudster pretending to be from their bank. The victim declined to speak to the person and ended the conversation. They later had a number of aggressive messages left on their phone.
The following day, another person living in Sevenoaks was telephoned by a man claiming to work for his broadband and TV provider. They asked for his bank details and, suspecting a scam, the victim terminated the call.
On the same day, a person from Swanley received an automated telephone message informing him that his national insurance number had been linked to criminal activity. The message told them to press the number one on their phone to continue, however, they immediately ended the call and later contacted the police.
Another Swanley resident was contacted by a person claiming to be from the Department for Work and Pensions, who advised them that their national insurance number was going to be terminated. The victim did not pass any personal information and ended the call. It was later identified as fraudulent.
Inspector Pete Ballard of the Sevenoaks Community Safety Unit said: ‘We have seen an increase in this type of telephone call where people living in the west of Kent are being deliberately targeted by fraudsters.
‘Thankfully on these occasions, no money was stolen but nonetheless such incidents can cause considerable anxiety and distress.
‘Our dedicated fraud team works diligently to track down the offenders who are targeting our communities, and I would appeal to residents to remain alert and also ensure any vulnerable relatives do not become victim to this type of crime.
‘It is important to note, a bank or building society will never ask a member of the public for any of their bank details, or money, over the phone and will never send a taxi or courier to an account holder’s home to assist in transferring cash.’
If you are not confident a person claiming to work for your bank or building society, or any other caller, is genuine, ask to take their details and then end the call.
Wait for at least five minutes for the call to clear and then contact 101, or 999 in an emergency. A call handler will be able to verify whether your caller was genuine.
You can also report suspicious activity online by visiting the Kent Police or Action Fraud websites.
Information that may assist investigators can be notified to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 or by completing the online form on their website.