People have been warned not to give out their bank details over the phone after fraudsters posed as police officers in a number of hoax calls.
The criminals told victims they needed bank details as their account had been involved in fraudulent activity or – in this case of one elderly woman – money was needed for a relative’s bail.
The pensioner, who lives in a village in Aylesbury Vale, told The Bucks Herald the mystery caller said her grandson was being held at Hammersmith Police Station and officers needed her credit card details for his bail.
She said: “He told me he was detective constable something and wanted me to confirm that a boy they had was my grandson. I was frightened silly.
“He had my name, full address and of course my phone number. I felt very vulnerable.
“Maybe someone lives near by? I got worried. Thank goodness my son was with me.”
But the 70 year old was then told the boy’s name was Aleister Crowley – the name of a controversial magician in the early 20th century.
“As soon as they said Aleister Crowley though, I knew. That was a stupid name to give,” said the woman, who has two grandsons.
She phoned Hammersmith Police Station, which confirmed they were not holding a boy called Aleister Crowley.
Thames Valley Police has referred the incident to Action Fraud.
Detective Superintendent Paul Hayles said police are currently investigating the hoax call claims and he is warning people to be cautious.
He said: “Never give personal or account details to anyone who contacts you unexpectedly.
“Be suspicious, even if they claim to be from your bank or the police.
“If you do have any concerns about a police officer contacting you, please contact Thames Valley Police on 101 or contact your local neighbourhood team and we would be happy to confirm the identity of an officer and put you in touch with them.”