Beds Police are renewing warnings about a national con-trick after six incidents were reported in Luton on February 11.
Luckily in each case the victims sensed that there was something wrong, didn’t hand over any money or bank cards and contacted the police.
These offences follow further reports from January, when two people, one in Bedford and one in Luton reported being contacted via phone by someone pretending to be from the police and told to empty their bank accounts due to a fraud danger. A courier from the bank would be along to their house when they had done that to collect the money and put it somewhere safe.
The victim from Luton, who is 78, wasn’t fooled and eventually managed to get through to Bedfordshire Police to report the call. Uniformed officers were waiting for the bogus courier when he got to the victim’s house and he was arrested. The 17 year old is now on police bail, while further enquiries are carried out by detectives.
In December, a similar method resulted in an 87-year-old man from Kensworth being conned out of £15,000 by fraudsters using this story.
This is a national scam known as the courier scam and it has many variations but usually follows this method:
• A fraudster will cold call you on a landline, claiming to be from your bank or the police. Often older people will be targeted. The “bank” or “police” will state their systems have spotted a fraudulent payment on your account, or your card is due to expire and needs to be replaced.
• In order to reassure you that they are genuine, they suggest that you hang up and ring the bank/police back straight away. However, they don’t disconnect the call from the landline so that when you dial the real phone number for your bank or the police, you are actually still speaking to the fraudster.
• They then ask you to read out your PIN or type it on your phone keypad. They may ask fordetails of other accounts you hold with the bank or financial service provider.
• Finally, they send a courier to you to collect your bank card, or the cash that you will be withdrawing from the compromised accounts. The fraudster will have then obtained your name, address, full bank details, card and PIN.
Banks do contact customers about potential security threats, but will never ask for your PIN number, or send a courier to your home, or collect your bank card. Neither will the police. If you receive a call like this, end it immediately and use a different phone such as your mobile or a neighbour’s phone to contact the police.
Detective Constable Mark Amey, investigating the incidents for Bedfordshire Police, said: “Luckily during yesterday’s incidents no one handed over any cash or cards and followed the police advice.
But I would continue to warn residents throughout Bedfordshire to remain on their guard. These people are still trying to take advantage of people in our county and if you have older friends or relatives, please do make them aware of this scam. Let them know that banks and police officers will never ask you to withdraw cash or hand over cards and they must not go along with any suggestion of this kind. The fraudsters may call repeatedly during the day and if this is the case, you must ring the police as soon as you can by using an alternative phone.”
You can also report it to www.actionfraud.police.uk. Actionfraud also has a wealth of informationabout this and other scams, along with prevention tips and advice for victims.