Impersonating a Police Officer UK Phone Scam

This one initially caught me off guard as I was co-incidentally expecting a call back from the Metropolitan Police on an unrelated matter..

I had a call this morning from someone identifying themselves as 'Mark Dixon' who claimed to be from the Met Police. As all our calls are recorded on our phone system I'll attach the call here so you can judge for yourself .. the statement that he is from the 'Met Police' is very clear indeed so no doubt about what is claimed. This tactic works very well as we all naturally want to co-operate with the police and help prevent crime and abuse of all sorts. 'Mr Dixon' does do a very good job of sounding like a police officer - so full marks for tone and gravitas of voice.

NB: If you want to listen to the call then come back to the commentry here scroll to the bottom & hit play then come back to read on..

An annual alleged scam seems to be for a certain company who may or may not go by the name of 'blue line publishing' or 'thin blue line publishing' to call up pretending to be from the UK Police. They ask for business community support to support their efforts to help educate children about the dangers of the internet and other risks (grooming etc.). Specifically they state that they are producing a journal to be distributed to schools to address and highlight some of these issues and look for responsible community minded busiesses to help sponsor and enable this effort.

Here at Onega as part of our IT support work we go to great efforts to help keep computer systems safe from cyber attacks and reduce risks with various measures of Antivirus, secure firewalls etc.  Thus we'd be happy to consider helping the police with any initiatives to keep the community safe and raise awareness wherever possible. In this case though the caller is not calling from the police, but will state this, and heavily imply this. It is a great way to get past a swichboard for example... ie if the Police call and talk to reception asking for a particular member of staff, no one will refuse to connect the call (again due to our natural desire to help stay on the right side of the law).

The chap calling does not in fact work for the police, and if asked or questioned furter will back track to 'we're working for the police' then 'we're working with the police' then 'in the interests of policing' and may well we suspect end up with 'we're wanted by the police'! (or should do!) .. the point is that most people don't think to question the authenticity of the caller if they claim up front to be calling from the Met Police (or any UK police force), as we alll also know that 'impersonating a police officer' is a crime that typically carries a six month prison sentence in the UK. Fraud can carry much more.

The alleged fraud pans out that if you choose to support their journal then you buy a certain amount of display advertising space in the journal or add a paid message of support as a responsible and upstanding company. So the journal may or may not be produced and printed in volumes they claim, and may or may not be distributed to schools. We're pretty sure that the real Police did not commission or condone this, and most of your money (if not all) goes to pertetuate the scam and to line the pockets of the scammers.

We've reported this previously to the real police and understand that there is an ongoing investigation details of which are obviously confidential as it may lead to a court case and prison time for the man who is or claims to be Mark Dixon and his colleagues.

Call received 10th April 2017 at 11:34am - 1:45 duration in this case. Have a listen to the recording and be the jury - do you agree that it is clear that the caller claims to be from the Police?  The call comes from a withheld number so it makes it harder to trace - though in fact the UK telecom logs allow for a full trace behind the scenes so there is no hiding here. They also don't check the TPS register before calling, though that's a fairly minor crime compared to impersonating a police officer or basic fraud and deception. As an additional kick to the real UK Met Police, they also chose the day of heroic policeman PC Keith Palmer's funeral for PC K who was killed in last month's Westminster attack, takes place in London's Southwark Cathedral.

Call from the real police don't have withheld phone numbers, and officers will be able to indentify themselves to you. The police do have many civilian staff but they will also be clear about their title and authority. .. So if you get one of these calls please let us (and the police) know. This is about the 4th year we've had calls on this and we're always a bit sad it continues as it means that others are spending money that goes nowhere. In retrospect on the call I should have gone along with it to ask for details and where should I send my money etc. to capture their contact details but at the time I was not in the mood for time wasting so made short shrift of the call.

Have a listen: