The victims are receiving phone calls from fraudsters claiming that they are investigating fraud at a local bank branch.
The criminals claim the bank is issuing fake bank notes, and asks for help in the “operation”.
The victim is asked to visit the branch, withdraw supposedly counterfeit cash and then hand it over for “analysis”, having been assured the money will eventually be put back into their account. However, the fraudster disappears with the cash.
The criminal tells the victim not to discuss the case with anyone in the branch so, despite being questioned by bank staff, the customer takes out the cash, convinced employees are part of a fraud.
In another version of the scam, the criminal convinces the victim to transfer money to a “safe account” to protect the funds from “corrupt” bank staff, but the account is controlled by the criminal.
Katy Worobec, head of fraud and financial crime prevention, cyber and data sharing at UK Finance, said: “This is a particularly nasty scam as it plays on people’s public-spirited nature to assist the police.
Remember, the police will never ask you to withdraw money and hand it over to them for safe-keeping.”