Vehicle theft victims targeted by fraudsters.Victims contacted after posting their details on social media sites.Fraudsters demand money in exchange for information about stolen vehicles.
Hertfordshire Constabulary is warning victims of vehicle thefts to be aware of a scam targeted at people looking to recover their vehicles.
Some victims were contacted after they had shared details about their stolen vehicles on social media sites in an attempt to recover them. In March 2018 a victim placed a notice on the Facebook page Stolen Cars UK, asking for information about their stolen vehicle. The victim was subsequently contacted via phone in June 2019 by someone claiming to know where their stolen vehicle was, and that they would hand over the location in exchange for cash.
This type of scam has been carried out in many areas around the country including London, Nottinghamshire and West Mercia, where victims have transferred large sums of money and the fraudsters have then ceased all contact.
Detective Constable Matt Creese from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Specialist Investigation Team said: “This is a very upsetting fraud, which targets people who have already been victim of a crime. Unfortunately by providing details of their stolen vehicles, they have unknowingly given the fraudsters enough information for them to convince them that they have useful information. In some cases the victims have handed over hundreds of pounds and received nothing in return.
“I would urge anyone who has had a vehicle, or other valuable item stolen, to be very careful what information you divulge on a public site and remember that you should always exercise caution if someone makes contact claiming to have knowledge of your stolen possessions.”
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud or have information about a crime you can report online, speak to an operator in our Force Communications Room via our online web chat, which can be launched here or call the non-emergency number 101.
Alternatively, you can stay 100% anonymous by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their untraceable online form.
For over 30 years, Crimestoppers has always kept its promise of anonymity to everyone who contacts them.