Police have released a warning after a series of incidents where tourists were targeted by people claiming to be police officers.
According to Action Fraud, a lone fraudster would approach a person believed to be unfamiliar with the local area and make an excuse to talk.
The fraudster would for instance ask for directions or for a recommendation for a good hotel.
Then, several other fraudsters would intervene pretending to be police officers in plain clothes – sometimes presenting false ID as ‘proof’.
Action Fraud says the fake police would give a reason to examine the victim’s wallet, purse, or personal items.
They may also examine the first fraudster’s items or try to tell victims that the first fraudster is suspicious in order to gain the victim’s trust and appear more realistic in their guise.
After all the fake police ‘checks’ are finished, victims have then reported being handed back their personal items only to later realise that a quantity of money or valuables were missing.
Police say ways to protect yourself from these sorts of crime include:
• If an individual claims to be a police officer ask for their name and rank, force, and examine any identification presented. This is always good practice but especially important if they are not wearing a uniform.
• The police will never ask for your passwords or PIN details. Do not give this information to anyone.
• The police will never request that you withdraw/transfer any money to them or to a ‘safe’ account.
If you have been affected by this, or any other fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk