Phone scams are a type of fraud which is also known as courier fraud or vishing and often targets the elderly and vulnerable.
The victim receives 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, which helps the victim to believe the call is genuine.
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 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, 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.
The most important three things to remember are:
- Your bank and/or the police will never ask for your PIN.
- Your bank will never attend your home to deliver a replacement card or to collect cash.
- Your bank and/or the police will never collect your bank card.
There are a number of variations to the scam, including:
- Fraudsters who pretend 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.
- Fraudsters calling the victims and telling them to withdraw large amounts of money from their bank accounts, put it in an envelope, and hand this over to a courier who would call at their home. The fraudster tells the victim this is necessary as there are corrupt staff at the bank, and not to speak to anyone when they withdraw the money.
- 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.
Police advice is that if you receive such a call, end it immediately.
If you receive this type of call, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or via their website (opens new window). In an emergency, dial 999.
Notes to Editors: None of the victims in this case want to speak to the media. No more details about them will be released.