FARMERS have been warned to be vigilant after fraudsters conned farmers in North Yorkshire out of thousands of pounds.

Five farms near Selby were targeted over ten days – one victim lost their entire life savings.

The criminals claimed to be part of a bank fraud investigation team and coldcalled farmers, saying someone had tried to cash a cheque on their account for £11,500. They were urged to move their money into a “safe account”, but in fact it was a scam and once transferred, all their money vanished.

Cash was switched using internet banking or the conmen told their victims to go to the bank and not mention the reason for transferring the cash to bank staff – claiming they too were under investigation.

In some of the incidents, the criminals asked victims to call the number on the back of their bank card. They then held the phone line open, resulting in the victim believing they were calling their bank, when in fact they were still speaking to the fraudster.

  • Police have issued the following advice: 
  • Banks and the police will never contact you to ask you to transfer funds or hand over your cards or money; 
  • Do not transfer money to an unknown bank account either online or in person;
  • Do not pass on any personal information over the phone or in person to any cold callers;
  • Always check with your bank if you are called by anyone claiming to be from a bank fraud investigation team;
  • When you make the phone call, always ensure that you have a dialing tone before making the call or use a different phone line to the one the fraudsters have called on;
  • Protect your identity and always ensure you destroy or shred any documents containing personal information before disposing of them;
  • Don’t use makeshift post boxes at the end of your drive where identity thieves can pick up your post;
  • If you believe you have been a victim of bank fraud, contact your bank in the first instance and report it to your local police on 101.