Fraudsters have been targeting the vulnerable in Tunbridge Wells by impersonating a government body.
Kent Police has urged residents to be vigilant after a reports of a caller claiming to be from tax collectors HM Revenue and Customs [HMRC].
Polly Taylor [pictured], Co-Founder of Tunbridge Wells charity Pickering Cancer Drop-In Centre, alerted her neighbours after receiving a suspicious answerphone message on Friday [April 20].
‘The caller said a serious lawsuit has been filed and there could be could be hard and legal consequences,’ said Mrs Taylor, who lives in Rusthall.
‘She said she was from HMRC and was very convincing, but I became suspicious after she said ‘goodbye, and have a blessed day’.
‘It was upsetting. My first thought was ‘oh my goodness’ and I could not remember anything [I had done] and my stomach dropped.
‘Last Friday was a tough day, I was feeling tired and vulnerable. I called 999 and told the police what had happened.’
The suspicious caller left a number and asked to be phoned back but Mrs Taylor did not and no money was paid as a result.
Mrs Taylor said a neighbouring couple, aged 84 and 78, had spoken to the ‘officer from HMRC’ but they had not responded to a request for a call back.
Kent Police said they had logged the incident and the force warned residents to be on their guard.
Sergeant Andy Miller said: ‘These fraudsters often pretend to be from an organisation or company you trust such as a bank, police or other official agency.
‘They are very plausible and usually know some personal information such as your home address and date of birth. If you receive one of these calls, do not give them any additional information.
‘Ask for their name and contact number and then put the phone down. You must wait at least five minutes before using your telephone in order to clear your line from the scammer.
‘You should then contact the organisation they said they were representing using a number you know, such as one from your latest bill, the telephone book or from their official website.
‘Speak to a family member of friend if you need any additional advice or assistance.’