When Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone in 1876, he probably thought it was a neat bit of kit that could be used by folk to call distant relatives with news that they’d brought a new ox, or got a bicycle with a massive front wheel or maybe grown a new moustache.
What he might not have figured was that come 2014, we’d not only be using our telephones to spread the news about ox purchases but also, unfortunately, to con vulnerable people.
The way they work is this – there’ll be a call from someone official, maybe claiming to be a bank employee or a police officer, telling their victim that their bank card has been cloned.
The fraudsters may encourage their victim to phone the police or their bank’s fraud department but will block their phone line meaning when they redial, they unwittingly end up speaking to the same fraudsters again.
Thinking they’re now speaking to someone they can trust, the victim is encouraged to give their personal details and are told that a courier will attend their address to pick up their bank card as ‘evidence’.
Someone claiming to have been sent from the bank or police then turns up and takes the card, after which they make withdrawals now in possession of both the card and the PIN.
It’s a horrible little con and particularly cruel as the victims tend to be older and are being exploited by malicious criminals not caring about the damage they cause.
In reality, neither us police or bank staff would EVER request the disclosure of banking details over the phone and nor do we EVER send couriers round to people’s houses to collect bank cards.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of one of these types of calls, you should end the call immediately and then phone the police straight away, preferably using a different phone if you can.
It’s a con and as ever, if you are suspicious that something isn’t right then hang up and talk to us by dialing 101.
You can find out more about Courier Fraud here and I’d encourage people to spread the word to older relatives to make them aware of the issue so that they know what to do if they are targeted.
Overall, telephones are great for ordering coronary disease-inducing takeaways or telling your friends about your new handlebar moustache and top hat combination.
They’re less great when being used by fraudsters so please alert people to the Courier Fraud scam and help hang up the line on the criminals.
It’s a good call – Alexander Graham Bell would approve!