Courier scam claims 2,229 victims in London alone
A sophisticated courier scam in which people are tricked into sending their bank cards to fraudsters has lost victims over £2.4m in two years .
The scam targets elderly people and involves criminals phoning victims pretending to be from an authority to extract pin details. Although the figures are from London this scam is operating nationally.
According to Scotland Yard, between January 2011 and December 2012, £2,408,800 was defrauded. Since January 2011, 130 fraudsters operating this scam have been arrested of which 93 have been charged. The most someone has been convicted of defrauding is £244,500.
How the courier scam works
The scam involves a person being called by someone on their landline claiming to be from their bank and told that their debit or credit card needs collecting.
In order to win your trust the fraudsters tell you to ring the bank back using the phone number printed on the back of the card to ensure the call is genuine.
However, the fraudster has kept the telephone line open, so even though you call the bank, the call does not go through. Instead you are unknowingly connected straight back to the fraudster.
The fraudster will then ask the person to key in their PIN number or write it down and put it in the envelope with the card, before sending a courier to collect it.
The victim is told the card is going to the bank to be changed but is actually delivered to the fraudster. Once in possession of the card and the victim’s bank details, fraudsters are able to empty their account, taking an average of £4,000.
Prevention and awareness advice
- Your bank will never attend your home
- Your bank and the police will never collect your bank card
- Your bank and the police will never ask for your PIN
- If you receive one of these call end it immediately
Police say that victims are mostly elderly people in their 70’s, and it has prompted awareness day activities around London.
Met Police commander Steve Rodhouse said the fraudsters put a huge amount of time and effort into being convincing because “the pay-off is immense”. We want people to question even truly genuine sounding calls and, most importantly, remember police and banks will never ask for your pin or bank card, so you should never give these away.”
For further information visit the Met Police website.
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To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.