Police warning over fraudulent activity in Devon and Cornwall


- Credit: Archant

Chulmleigh woman had her purse stolen before bogus caller asked for her PIN number, with nine other similar incidents across the region.

POLICE are warning people not to give out their bank details to bogus callers after a number of thefts and fraudulent activities across Devon and Cornwall.

In 10 separate incidents, including one in North Devon, victims have had their purses or wallets stolen and later received bogus phone calls claiming to be from their bank.

Officers believe the thefts are part of a professional operation which has defrauded victims of thousands of pounds.

In February a Chulmleigh woman had her purse stolen from her handbag when she was at work at Wallingbrook Health Centre.

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Later that day she received a phone call from a man claiming he was from her bank who told her they had noticed fraudulent activity on her card.

The man asked the woman for her PIN number and bank details, but while she was on the phone another member of her family contacted the bank who said they would never ask for such information.

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The woman, who police called extremely ‘savvy’, refused to give out her details and the caller hung up on her.

The theft has been linked to nine other crimes across the Devon and Cornwall area, the most recent being in Liskeard and Newton Abbot where staff at doctors’ surgeries had their wallets stolen.

Other incidents across Tiverton, Exeter, St Austell and Ottery St Mary have taken place in hotels, golf clubs and hospitals.

“We believe this to be a professional outfit operating across the force area and not likely to be anyone known to the victims,” said PC Phil Tucker.

“We would emphasise people to challenge unknown people even if they appear to be staff.

“Police are advising people to be vigilant when dealing with unsolicited calls.”

PC Tucker warned that banks and building societies would never ask for PIN numbers or sensitive information to be disclosed over the phone.

“If in any doubt take the contact details and phone the police,” he added.

Anyone with any information on any of the crimes above, or who has been affected by a similar incident, should call police on 101 quoting crime ref. BD/13/546.

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