Chiswick Elderly Targets Of Courier Scams
Police warn public that the fraud is increasing
Police have warned elderly people in Chiswick to be on their guard, following a number of ‘Courier Scams’ .
The scams involve fraudsters getting the bank details of mainly elderly and vulnerable people, often by pretending to be bank staff, and then getting access to their accounts.
In some cases, the criminals pretend to be members of the police and either phone up, or knock on the person’s door to collect their card and PIN, pretending to be from an ‘Economic Crime Unit’.
They have also asked people to cut up their bank cards, claiming their accounts have been compromised, and post them to a special address –where they tape the cards together again and use them.
Local police have joined with the Metropolitan Police Service’s Specialist and Economic Crime Directorate in reissuing the warning, saying the scams are becoming increasingly prevalent across London. They said there have been a number of these incidents reported in the Chiswick area.
Safer Neighbourhood Teams are now asking the public to be alert and to remember that anyone purporting to be a member of the bank or the police should not be freely given bank details.
According to the police, there are a number of methods adopted by the gangs. They usually involve elderly members of the public receiving unsolicited telephone calls from fraudsters purporting to be from the police or their bank. The callers claim their systems have spotted a fraudulent payment on their card, or that the card is due to expire and needs to be replaced.
The person may be asked to ring the bank back using the phone number printed on the back of their bank card. This helps to convince the person that the call is genuine. However, the fraudster has kept the telephone line open so even though the person has called the bank, the call does not go through. Instead they are unknowingly connected straight back to the fraudster.
The police say the scam works by the fraudster gaining the person’s trust by pretending to be from the bank and seeming to offer assistance. In many cases the person is asked to provide their full bank card details and key in their PIN so that their existing card can be “cancelled” and their new one “activated” or “authorised.” The fraudster will then explain that the bank will need to collect the old card.
The fraudster then goes to the person’s address or sends an innocent courier company driver to collect the card and sometimes provides the resident with a “replacement” card which is subsequently found to be fake.
Another worrying variation is of fraudsters pretending to be from the police and cold calling members of the public claiming to be from the Economic Crime Department. They say the person’s bank account has been compromised by criminals and suggest that the person should transfer their bank balance into a “safe” police account.
Fraudsters pretending to be from the police then go to the person’s address and retrieve their card and PIN.
They have also sent members of the public 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.
Members of the public have also been contacted by phone and asked 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.The police say if you receive such a call, end it immediately. And remember;
July 30, 2012