Don't Fall For The Scam

Courier fraudsters have conned at least 75 people in Ealing

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At least 75 people in Ealing are thought to have been conned of their bank details by fraudsters operating throughout London.

Safer Neighbourhoods Teams (SNTs) across the borough are warning elderly residents about the conmen who use courier firms to help defraud victims of their life savings.

The fraud works by the suspect telephoning the victim and claiming to be someone from an authority - usually the police, bank or Serious Fraud Office. They tell them that their bank account has been compromised and their card must be collected. The most convincing element of the ruse is that the suspect instructs the victim to hang up and call the police/bank/Serious Fraud Office on a genuine number to check that they are who they say they are. The victim dials the new number but the fraudster does not disconnect so, unknown to the victim, they are still speaking to the suspect or a co-conspirator.

The fraudster then convinces the victim to reveal their PIN, usually by typing it in on their keypad. The suspect is able to tell which keys have been pressed. The suspect then sends a - usually unwitting - courier or taxi driver to the victim's house to collect their bank card, which the suspect has instructed them to put into an envelope. The card is delivered to a co-conspirator and is used, with the PIN, to empty the victim's bank account.

In Ealing (rom January 2011- December 2012) 75 people reported such fraud.

Today (20 March) is the MPS’s pan-London Courier Fraud Awareness Day and local officers are carrying out activities to highlight crime prevention measures against the scam.

Courier fraud has impacted every borough in London and claimed 2,229 victims - mostly elderly - in two years.

Since January 2011, police across London have arrested 130 courier fraudsters and charged 93, including two brothers who have been jailed for more than 10 years for defrauding over 200 victims of almost a quarter of a million pounds.

The MPS has identified that Organised Criminal Groups (OCGs) are behind the fraud but despite arresting many of these across London, courier fraud is continuing as new OCGs take over and convince victims that they are genuine.

The aim of Courier Fraud Awareness Day is to help stop Londoners becoming victims by showing them how the fraud works and teaching them the key crime prevention pointers. These are:

Police and banks will never ask for your PIN or bank card
Never give your PIN or bank card to anyone
If you are contacted by someone who asks for your PIN or bank card, hang up
Use a different line to report it to police on 101 or allow at least five minutes for the line to automatically clear. Call 999 if the crime is in action.

Ealing SNTs will today:
give presentations to local elderly residents at ward surgeries
set up courier fraud prevention stalls in key community areas
make follow-up visits to victims and visit potential victims
visit cab firms to advise them on spotting courier fraudsters

Police are also asking friends and family of the elderly to share the crime prevention advice with them.

The MPS lead on organised crime, Commander Steve Rodhouse, said: “Courier fraudsters put a huge amount of time and effort into being convincing because for them the pay-off is immense. This is a massive part of what makes them so successful.

“We want people to question even truly genuine sounding calls and, most importantly, remember police and banks will never ask for your PIN or bank card, so you should never give these away.

“We are also urging courier and cab firms to be alert to anyone who may be using them to carry out this fraud. If you are asked to collect a package that you believe could be a bank card, do not make the delivery but call police immediately. You could prevent someone from being a victim of this terrible crime, and also stop yourself from being implicated.”

20th March 2013