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Archived News - Scams

BT Technician Hoax Call Warning

This article was published in June 2014. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

International Routing SystemBedfordshire Police have been contacted by a local resident who very nearly became a victim of a telephone scam.

A caller, claiming to be a BT Technician has reported issues with the broadband connection, suggesting that there may be a fault with the computer.

After a number of conversations the caller has offered to fix the problems by remotely logging into the computer.

At the point where the caller has asked for payment details the resident has become suspicous and has ended the call.

Whilst the resident has not lost any money they have had to contact their bank, broadband supplier and get their computer checked.

These callers are both persistent and convincing.

If you are called by anyone claiming to have information about your broadband or home computer remember the following.

Genuine BT staff do not recite account details over the phone.

Do not let a caller remotely access your computer - this may lead to personal data being captured.

Never give bank details to an unsolicited caller.

If you think that you have been a victim, run a virus scan, alert you bank and contact Action Fraud to report the scam.

Beware Bank Card Scam

This article was published in July 2013. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PolicePolice in Bedfordshire are asking residents to be extra vigilant when giving bank information over the telephone after receiving several reports of a scam.

The two most recent reports were received on July 23 and July 17 after residents in Houghton Regis and Dunstable received telephone calls from bogus police officers telling the victims that their bank details had been cloned.

The offenders told the victims that they were police officers from the Metropolitan Police Force and that they needed to confirm details of the victim's banking details and would call around to their home to collect the original bank cards.

The same or the following day a man posing as a police officer then attended the victim's home and collected the bank cards which were then used fraudulently.

A further four incidents following the same pattern have also been recorded within the last few months and appear to target older residents in the Dunstable and Houghton Regis areas.

Mark Collis, of Bedfordshire Police's Crime Bureau, is keen to warn residents of the scam and urges them not to give bank information to anyone who telephones their home; even if they say they are a police officer.

Mr Collis said: "These offenders are very plausible when they speak to people over the telephone and even give telephone numbers to the victims to check their credentials. I would urge people to contact their local force using 101 to verify the identity of any person telephoning your home and not to hand any bank cards over to anyone calling at your home. You should contact your bank directly if you think your cards have been compromised and never give anyone your pin number or your bank security answers as these will allow them to access your account. If you are at all concerned about telephone calls or callers to your home who ask for your bank details you can always go into your local police station or bank in person and speak to a representative direct to verify what is happening."

Anyone with information relating to these crimes can contact Bedfordshire Police on 101, or text information to 07786 200011.

Alternatively you can contact the independent crime fighting charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.


Voucher Loan Scam Warning

This article was published in October 2012. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Bedfordshire PoliceBedfordshire Police are warning people again to be careful about cash scams which promise easy money.

Officers are dealing with at least two cases where people have applied to a company for a loan, only to be asked to provide money upfront in order to secure it.

Needless to say, after the initial money has been found by hard-up residents, the promised loan never materialises and the applicants are left even worse off than before.

Police are warning people that they should never pay up front for a loan and only deal with reputable companies.

It is not dissimilar to the better known scam of doing a foreign national a favour by receiving money into your bank account on his behalf, or where unsuspecting residents receive notification they have won a lottery. In both cases, in order to secure your share of this free money, you must pay cash up front before you receive the big money, which never arrives.

In the latest swindle, innocent members of the public are being asked to pay up front in Ukash vouchers.

Ukash is a genuine and reputable company which allows cash to be exchanged for a voucher number at a local shop. The voucher can then be used to pay for goods and services over the internet or phone, rather than using a credit card or Paypal.

In the current scams, the fraudster sets up a company offering unsecured loans, similar to the popular short term pay-day loan companies. Aimed at people who would struggle to get credit elsewhere because of poor credit rating, it lures often-desperate people in by offering instant loans.

A couple who applied for a £3000 loan contacted Bedfordshire Police last month, saying they had been told their application to a company called Easy Loan had been successful, and all they needed to do was pay £90 over the phone to the company using Ukash vouchers.  The loan money would then appear in their bank account within 10 minutes.

They provided the voucher number to a person who claimed to be in London – but the loan never arrived in their bank account. The fraudster even had the cheek to ask for another £195 to provide "proof to the government" – which luckily was not paid.  

PC Angelina Aylward, of the Local Policing Operations team in Bedford, said: "It's the second case in a short space of time I've dealt with and I'm sure these are not the only two. The police are in a difficult position as the victim only contacts the police once an incident has occurred. I felt extremely sorry for the couple that came to the police station and feel that it's important that we raise awareness." 

Any other victims in the area who have not reported this to the police should contact the government agency responsible for investigating and recording lower-scale fraud and scams. Action Fraud can also be contacted via telephone on 0300 1232040.  Ukash can also be contacted for advice on 0808 2346244 or via Both organisations advise never to pay up front for a loan and never use Ukash vouchers to pay for something in this way.

Parcel Delivery Scam - It's NOT your name on it!

This article was published in July 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterBedfordshire Police is warning the public to check labels carefully when taking delivery of parcels at their homes...

A new scam has come to notice whereby parcels are being delivered to residences with the labels showing a correct address, but an unknown name. The person receiving the parcel has been asked to sign for it and, in many cases, has done so.

Soon after the delivery, usually the following day, a woman visits the address saying she believes a parcel intended for her has been delivered there by mistake.

The woman takes the parcel and is not seen again.

Within a few days, occupants of the address invariably start to receive paperwork, often including payment demands for the parcel.

The woman is described as being of mixed race, aged in her 20s, large build and approximately 5'5" tall. She has 'significant red hair'.

Sergeant Andy Rivers said, "Even if you are expecting a delivery, make sure the label is correctly addressed to you or a member of your household.

"If you are not expecting a parcel, carefully inspect the label and if there are any discrepancies in the details, you must seriously consider declining the delivery."

If this has happened to you, or you have any information about the scam, please contact Sergeant Rivers on 01234 841212 or text 07786 200011, or call Crimestoppers, anonymously if preferred, on 0800 555111.

Thank you for your support.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire

Beware of Jewellery Scammers

This article was published in June 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterBedfordshire Police are asking local residents to be on their guard after at least five people were victims of theft in Luton and Dunstable in the last two months.

The latest incident took place on Wednesday June 1st between 11.30am and midday in Eldon Road in Luton, when the offender approached a man loading his vehicle on his driveway and placed a gold chain around his neck offering it for sale. He asked them to leave and they removed the victim's real chain, without his knowledge, leaving theirs behind.

The thieves have previously targeted victims in and around Dunstable and Luton. Two thefts occurred in Sainsbury's in Dunstable Road, Luton and Boscombe Road, Dunstable.

Two further thefts occurred in residential roads near to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital usually targeting elderly victims.

Investigating officer, Ruth Melnykowicz said: "On all occasions the offenders have been described as females of eastern European appearance, wearing long skirts and head scarves."

"We would urge people to remain vigilant to people approaching them on the street offering jewellery or other items of value for sale. We would also like to hear from anyone else who believes they may have been a victim of this type of theft."

Anyone with information can contact Ruth Melnykowicz on 01582 394022, Bedfordshire Police on 01234 841212, text 07786 200011, or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Overpaid bank / credit charges scam

This article was published in February 2011. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

A local resident has reported receiving a telephone call from an Asian sounding male, claiming that the resident was owed £2165 in overpaid bank / credit charges. They told the resident to attend their local Post Office in order that a money order could be sent for £125 administration fee.

The resident was asked to phone a telephone number whilst at the Post Office and details of where the admin fee was to be paid would be given.

The male stated that as soon as the fee was paid the Post Office would be able to pay the £2165 immediately (and if they couldn't then the caller would personally drive to the residents address and drop off a cheque or deposit the money in their bank account).

Please be on your guard and ensure that any elderly or vulnerable relatives, friends or neighbours know how to deal with any unwanted / unsolicited phone calls. Never divulge personal information / bank details to anyone on the phone and do not make immediate money transfers to unknown companies.

Further information about scams and consumer information can be obtained from Consumer Direct at or by calling them on 08454 040506

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire

Postal Scam Warning

This article was published in December 2010. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

RingmasterThere have been reports nationally of tricksters placing cards through doors suggesting they were unable to deliver parcels and asking householders to contact a telephone number.

However, unknown to householders, they were being asked to make a premium rate call in a scam believed to originate in Belize.

Crime Reduction Officer Lara Curtayne said: "Any card put through a door should be queried if it is asking the householder to ring a number. The vast majority of legitimate delivery companies leave a card saying they will deliver again, or put a collection address."

Anyone with doubts about a delivery company should contact their local Trading Standards Department.

Source: Ringmaster Bedfordshire

The International Routing System scam

This article was published in July 2010. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

International Routing SystemIt appears that a number of people have received calls from someone claiming to be from the International Routing System. This company does not exist, and the caller is trying to scam you into either installing infected software, or else to give them your credit card details.

Either put the phone down immediately, or else laugh at every statement they make as it is pure fiction.

Source: The International Routing System scam