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Mar 08 2012

Card Fraud Telephone Scam Warning from Harrow Police

In the news yesterday it was stated that card fraud has fallen to its lowest level in 11 years. This is positive news. However, we want to highlight the need to be ever vigilant to new and existing card fraud scams such as the one detailed below.

How does this scam work?

You receive a telephone call from someone claiming to be from your bank. He or she will say their systems have spotted a fraudulent payment on your card or that your card is due to expire and needs replacing.

You may be asked to ring back using the telephone number on the back of your card – which further convinces you that the call is genuine. However, the caller keeps the line open at their end so, when you make the call, you are unknowingly connected straight back to the fraudster.

Then, by seeming to offer assistance, the fraudster tries to gain your trust. In most cases you are asked to ‘cancel’ your existing card or ‘activate’ or ‘authorise’ a replacement card by keying your PIN into the handset of your phone.

The fraudster then poses as a bank representative who agrees to collect your card from your home, sometimes offering you a replacement card, which is a fake.

In some cases a genuine courier company is hired to pick up the card from your home address. The victim will have been asked to place the card into an envelope ready for collection. Once they have your card and pin the fraudster uses them to spend your money.

A variation of the scam involves the fraudster ringing a prospective victim and claiming to be from the police – again with the aim of going to the victim’s home to collect the card and pin.

What can I do to avoid being a victim of this scam?

  • Neither your bank nor the police would ever ring you and state that they are coming to your home to pick up your card, so never hand it over to anyone who comes to collect it.
  • Your bank will never ask you to authorise anything by entering your pin into the telephone handset.
  • Never share your pin with anyone – the only times you should use your pin is at a cash machine or when you use a chip and pin machine in a shop / restaurant.

I think I might have been a victim of this scam – what should I do?

If the criminals are nearby ring the Police immediately on 999, otherwise report the crime to your local Police via 101.

If you think you have been the victim of a fraud or scam of this nature you should also call your bank or card company immediately.

Source: Metropolitan Police

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