A warning has been issued in South Yorkshire over a fake undercover police operation.
South Yorkshire Police has issued the warning on behalf of UK Finance, which claims there 'growing scam' in which criminals pose as police officers and ask their victims to take part in a fake undercover operation.
Fraudsters are contacting members of the public, usually by phone and claiming to be from the police, or in some cases the their bank's fraud team.
The criminals claim they are investigating a fraud at a local bank branch, where staff are suspected of being involved, and they ask their victims for help with a police operation.
As part of the scam, victims are asked to visit the branch and withdraw a substantial sum, often thousands of pounds, of supposedly counterfeit cash to hand over to the ‘police’ for ‘analysis’.
The victim is assured that the money will be deposited back into their account after the operation is complete.
But once the money is passed over the fraudsters disappear with the cash.
In another version of the scam, the criminal convinces the victim to transfer money to a so-called ‘safe account’ to protect their funds from the ‘corrupt’ bank staff.
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.
"We are receiving a growing number of reports of it occurring, with people often losing large amounts of money, so it’s vital that everyone is aware. Remember, the police will never ask you to withdraw money and hand it over to them for safe-keeping.”
She added: "The police will never ask you to become part of an undercover investigation or for you to withdraw cash and hand it to them for safe-keeping.
"Be wary of any calls, texts or emails purporting to be from the police asking for your personal or financial details, or for you to transfer money.
"If you are approached, or feel something is suspicious, hang up the phone and don’t reply. Then report it to Action Fraud and your bank on their advertised number."