Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Scam Warning Reminder

This is a message sent via Thames Valley Alert and has been sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police.

Thames Valley Police are reissuing a warning to residents to be on their guard from fraudulent phone calls purporting to be from banks or police officers and requesting bank and card details or asking people to withdraw large amounts of cash.

On Tuesday (28/10) the victim, an elderly man, was contacted by a man claiming to be a police officer from London.The victim was advised to withdraw £7000 from his bank as his bank was suspected of handling counterfeit money and being investigated by both the police and the FBI.

The victim was instructed not to discuss the reason for the withdrawal with the bank.The victim having completed the withdrawal returned home to await collection of the money by a courier.

The bank being suspicious of the withdrawal contacted Thames Valley Police, who were able to respond and intercept the package prior to it being handed over to a taxi in Oxford.

Instructions by the criminals to the taxi firm had initially been to collect a passenger, before it was changed to a package which was to be delivered to an Oxford address. The instruction again changed and the driver was offered £500 to take the package to London.

Det Ch Insp Andy Bird, leading investigations into courier fraud, said: “We continue to work hard to prevent and detect offences of courier fraud across the Thames Valley.

“Offenders are very plausible and target honest upstanding members of the community who are more likely to believe the lies they are told. I urge everyone to remain vigilant. Please read our advice so you are aware of the tactics being used by criminals, so you can prevent yourself and other people you know from becoming a victim of these types of scams.

“We have been working closely with banks and taxi firms to help them identify the factors involved in scams like this, which often target vulnerable members of our community. This crime was fortunately prevented thanks to the quick thinking of the bank staff, who contacted us as soon as they suspected something was amiss.”

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 to confirm details.

The victim disconnects the phone and dials their bank or police straight away, however the fraudster has kept the telephone line open so even though a number is dialled, 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. 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.

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.

There are a number of variations to the scam, including:
  • Fraudster asking the victims to withdraw large amounts of cash from their bank take it home and wait for a courier to arrive. The fraudster claims that the money is fake and they are helping the police with their investigation and would get the monies withdrawn back the next day. They are told not to tell the bank staff what the money is for and to make an excuse such as it is required to buy a new car.
  • 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
If you receive this type of call, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or via their website. In an emergency, dial 999.

Click for the Thames Valley Police website