In particular, the elderly or vulnerable tend to be targeted but this can happen to anyone.
Someone cold calls you on your landline claiming they are from the fraud department of your bank / credit card company. They tell you they have spotted a fraudulent transaction on your card and the card needs to be replaced.
To convince you they are genuine they get you to call the bank back on the number printed on your card. You do so and someone confirms that what you have been told is true. In fact you are still speaking to the scammer or one of their associates. This is because when you put down the receiver the call is not disconnected. The scammer remains on the line and when you “dial out” you are not really making a telephone call. Fraudsters have even been known to play a dialing tone sound, so you think you have a clear outgoing line.
They then ask you to verify your PIN on the keypad. The may also ask you to confirm other personal data as part of their “security check”.
Their final step in the fraud is to send a courier to your house to collect your bank card. By this point the scammer has your name, address, card, PIN number and bank details. They can use these details to take money from your account or to commit further kinds of fraud.
There are several variations of this, including one where the scammer pretends to be a police officer who has caught a criminal in the act of carrying out a fraud using a clone of our card – and needs your card in order to charge the criminal. The rest of this fraud then proceeds the same way as described above.
Ofcom are working with telephone companies to get calls disconnected within a couple of seconds of you hanging up. It may take a while before this is rolled out to all telephone companies and all exchanges.
Avoiding this Fraud:
- Never assume that someone who calls you claiming to be an official is who they say they are: they might be – but you need to check.
- Do not give out any personal data. N.B. some genuine companies have a bad practice of ringing their customers and asking them to go through security. To be safe, you should never give out any item of personal data on a call that the other person initiated.
- Take the caller’s full name and department. Ask them for any details you may need so that their company’s switchboard can put you through to them.
- To make sure that the caller is not still on the line, do one of the following:
- Wait 10 minutes. Calls will never be held open for more than a couple of minutes.
- Call from another phone, e.g. your mobile.
- Call your mobile and make sure it rings before calling your bank.
- If at any point you believe that you are dealing with a fraudster, end the call and contact the police on 101.
- Your bank will never send a courier to your home.
- Your bank and the police will never collect your bank card.
- Your bank and the police will never ask for your PIN.
If You Have Become a Victim of this Fraud:
- Report this to Action Fraud.
- If you have handed over any details to the fraudster, call your bank and cancel your cards immediately.