Police Issue Courier Fraud Warning

Elderly and vulnerable tricked into giving out bank PIN

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Hounslow Police are warning local people against being targeted by courier fraudsters. These people prey on the elderly and vulnerable members of our community and in some cases have robbed their victims of their savings.

To commit the fraud the con artists typically do the following:

1. The criminals call the potential victim pretending to be a police officer; bank official or other financial institution representative. They will sound very genuine and plausible.

2. They will say that he is investigating an incident and requires assistance from the victim.

3. The victim is asked either to key their bank card PIN number into the keypad of the telephone or they are asked to withdraw cash from their bank. If the victim enters their PIN number on the keypad the suspects can identify the numbers by the touch tone on the keys. This means that when the courier collects the bank card, the suspect now has the victim’s bank card and PIN number and can empty their bank account.

4. The suspects often say that they want the victim to assist with an investigation into corrupt bank employees. They may ask the victim to make a large cash withdrawal claiming that they need to check the bank notes. They may also provide the victim with a reason to give bank staff for making such a large cash withdrawal.

5. The fraudster then says he will send a courier to collect either the bank card or the cash.This courier is usually unaware that he/she is assisting in the commission of a crime.
In some cases the suspect will even tell the victim to call the bank and cancel their bank card. However, the conman hasn’t hung up the phone so when the victim thinks they are speaking with their bank; they are actually still speaking to the conman.

Police understand that the effects of becoming a victim of fraudsters run far deeper than a loss of cash or property. For some of the vulnerable victim’s targeted the resulting feeling of insecurity is devastating and in some cases, can be permanent.

Please make sure that any elderly or vulnerable people that you care for are aware of this scam and know that they must hang up the phone or close the door if anyone tries to discuss their bank account, bank card or PIN.

Remember - dial 999 in an emergency and dial 101 to report a non-emergency crime.

November 20, 2014