Fraudsters take elderly for 7.5million in doorstep PIN and card scams in just eight months
The gangs telephone their victims at home pretending to be bank employees and explain that there's been a fraud against their credit or debit cardThe elderly victim is asked a series of security questions including their PIN A 'courier' is then sent to the elderly person's home to collect the card
23:28 GMT, 6 December 2012
Conmen: Fraudsters have stolen 7.5million by conning elderly people into handing over their bank cards and PINs on their doorstep (file picture)
Fraudsters have made 7.5million in only eight months after conning the elderly into handing over their bank cards and PINs on their doorsteps.
The police reported a ten-fold surge in the crime this year.
The gangs telephone their victims at home pretending to be bank employees.
They tell the victim that there has been a fraud against their debit or credit card and ask them to go through a number of security questions, including providing their four-digit PIN.
They then say a courier will be sent to their home in the next two hours to collect their card and they will subsequently receive a replacement.
Thieves collecting the cards then raid their victims’ accounts, taking an average of 4,200 from each of them over a period of days.
The police and the UK Cards Association, which represents banks, have identified fraud totalling 7.5million in the first eight months of 2012 and some 1,600 victims.
The total is ten times higher than the amount of fraud using this method during 2011.
The UKCA said: ‘The deception, undertaken by criminal gangs, tends to target elderly and vulnerable bank customers, with fraud intelligence showing that the average age of victims is 69.
‘Particular hot spots for this crime in the UK include London, Surrey and Strathclyde.’
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Carter, of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit, said: ‘This fraud relies on deception of the customer, who cases show is often elderly and vulnerable, sometimes alone in the house and who often takes the fraudster’s word at face value.
Theft: After obtaining the elderly person's card and PIN the scammers then raid their account over several days (file picture)
‘While these new figures confirm that this scam and others like it are on a steep rise, we can all protect ourselves and our relatives by remembering that banks will never ask for either your card or your PIN.
‘The only people who will ever ask you for your PIN are criminals. If someone on the phone asks for it, hang up immediately.’
He urged people receiving such calls to contact their bank immediately.
The banks have also reported a sharp rise in online banking fraud, which leapt by more than a quarter in the first half of this year.
The amount of cash siphoned from UK bank accounts via the internet between January and June hit 21.6million – up 28 per cent on the same period last year.
The increase came against a background of a staggering rise in the number of ‘phishing’ websites, which send emails to people pretending to be from their bank.
Some 111,396 were identified in the first half of this year, a rise of 199 per cent on the same period in 2011.
Phishing sites give the impression they are official communications, inviting people to type their account details and passwords into the site.
Fraudsters then use the information to empty victims’ accounts.