Thursday, 8 March 2012

Give cold-callers a cold reception

Cardiff Council’s Trading Standards is warning residents about a recent rise in popularity of an old-style phone scam. The fraudsters dupe unsuspecting cardholders into handing over their card and revealing their PIN by pretending to be from either their bank, card company, or even the police.

As with most crimes of this type it often has a significant impact on the victims.

The scam begins with the fraudster phoning up, typically claiming to be from the security or fraud department of the prospective victim’s bank, saying that their records have flagged up a fraudulent transaction on their card. By seeming to offer assistance, the fraudster hopes to gain the victim’s trust.

The fraudster then asks the victim to write down their PIN – and place it in an envelope with their card – and advises the victim that they will send a courier to collect it. The fraudster then hires a genuine courier to collect the envelope that contains the victim’s card and PIN. The courier, who is an unwitting pawn in the scam, then hands over the envelope to the fraudster, who uses the card and PIN to withdraw money from cash machines.

Deputy Leader of Cardiff Council, Councillor Judith Woodman, said: “It is important that everyone is aware of the tactics used by these con-artists so they can make sure their more vulnerable and elderly neighbours, family and friends know what they should do to protect themselves. You should never disclose your PIN or any personal financial information as a result of someone cold-calling you over the phone – wherever they claim to be from. If you think you have already been a victim of this scam, contact your bank or card company immediately.”

The courier scam can be stopped easily, provided cardholders:

· Never share their PIN with anyone (including the police or their bank)

· Be wary when receiving unsolicited phone calls from people claiming to be from their bank or card company. If in doubt, call the bank or card company back on a number you know to be correct.

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