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Beware the Courier Scam!

by Haddenham Webteam – 20th December 2013
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cold caller scam

Don't get caught by the courier scam this Christmas

As Christmas is nearly upon us, police are reissuing their warning to residents of the Thames Valley to be on their guard to the courier fraud scam.

The scam, which often targets the elderly and vulnerable, sees the victim receive a phone call from fraudsters who say they are from their bank or the police. They tell the victim that they are calling because there has been suspicious activity on their account and advise them to call the bank from the number on the back of their card.

The victim disconnects the phone and dials their bank or police, however the fraudster has kept the telephone line open so even though a number is dialed, it is not connected and the victim is still on the phone to the fraudster, who then gains their trust and asks them to either say or key in their pin, before telling them their card will be collected and a replacement delivered.

Once the fraudster has all the information they need, a courier is sent to collect the card from the victim, and a replacement is delivered at the same time, which is not a genuine bank card.

The offender has obtained the person's name, address, full bank details, the card itself and the PIN. The bank cards are then used fraudulently without the victim's knowledge.

Det Sgt Nicole James, from the Economic Crime Unit, said: "Although the number of these frauds continues to rise, the Thames Valley is not experiencing as many as other parts of the country.

"At this time of year, when people are finishing off their Christmas shopping and using their cards a lot, and when banks are shutting for the Christmas period, people may find this type of call more worrying and hand over their details without thinking.

"The fraudsters who carry out this type of crime are very skilled in portraying themselves as authentic bank employees or police detectives, and make the scam seem genuine by asking the victim to ring their bank. Our advice is that, if you receive such a call, end it immediately.

"We would also like to ask residents to let any elderly or vulnerable family members, friends, or neighbours know about the scam. Remember, your bank will never attend your home; and neither the bank nor the police will ever collect your bank card or ask for your PIN. The more we can spread the word about this type of fraud, the less success the fraudsters will have."

Between May and present, Thames Valley Police has received 107 reports of fraud of this type across the Force.

There are a number of variations to the scam, including:

  • Fraudsters call the customer pretending to be from the police or a bank and ask them to transfer funds via online banking. Again, they ask the customer to call their bank but keep the line open
  • Fraudsters pretending to be from the police cold- calling members of the public and telling them that their bank account has been compromised by criminals. The fraudster suggests that the person should transfer their bank balance into a 'safe' police bank account
  • Fraudsters pretending to be from the police attending people's addresses and retrieving the person's card and PIN
  • Members of the public receiving letters on bank headed paper informing them that their account has been the subject of a fraud. The letter advises them to transfer their funds to a 'safe' account and that an official will be in contact to provide them with a new card and PIN
  • Fraudsters contacting members of the public requesting them to cut their cards in half because their account has been compromised. They are then asked to post the cut card to an address where fraudsters simply tape the card together again and can use the details to commit fraud
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