Police are warning the public not to give their bank card personal identification number (PIN) to anyone after bogus bank officials have stolen thousands of pounds by tricking victims into handing over their PIN.
Scammers have been stealing victims' wallets and purses from multiple locations in the North Yorkshire area including sneaking into staff rooms, health centres and care homes.
Armed with all the information from the stolen cards, the fraudsters call the victim at their place of work pretending to be from their bank, claiming that they have been a victim of theft.
They go on to inform the victim that they believe someone is attempting to use their bank card and that in order to cancel the card, they require a number of security details. They start with general questions, but amongst them is a request for the victim's PIN.
The suspects are very convincing when they call and typing can be heard in the background, giving the impression of a call centre.
Once they have obtained the PIN, an accomplice then uses it to steal money from the victim's bank account, either using cash machines or by calling into various branches to withdraw the money.
Thousands of pounds withdrawn
One victim had her purse stolen from the staff room of the doctor's surgery where she worked. Fraudsters then went on to withdraw thousands of pounds from banks in Darlington, Harrogate and Leeds.
Officers are warning members of the public not to give their PIN to anyone under any circumstances and to ensure their belongings are kept secure when they are at work.
Detective Constable Matthew Mitchell of Northallerton CID, said: "We can't stress how important it is not to give your PIN to anyone under any circumstances - not even your bank or the police. They would not ask for it and anyone who does will not be genuine.
"As we continue to investigate these thefts and subsequent frauds, we urge members of the public to ensure their belongings are secure while they are at work. Particularly if you work in buildings which are accessible to the general public."
For further information please visit the North Yorkshire Police website.
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To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.