Thames Valley Police is reminding residents to remain vigilant and not become a victim of fraud. The scam: you receive a telephone call from a person purporting to come from the Metropolitan Police Fraud Squad advising that the staff in your local bank are being investigated, and to assist with enquiries, you are asked to attend your branch the following day and withdraw cash, which would then be collected by courier for fingerprinting. You, the victim, will be instructed to place the money in a box or bag, which would then be collected by a courier.
This scam has taken place across the Thames Valley police area.
It 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.
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 dialed, 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.
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 if you receive such a call then end it immediately.
We would 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:
• 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.
• Fraudsters pretending to be from the police attending people’s addresses and retrieving the person’s card and PIN.
• 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 use the victim’s details to commit fraud.
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.