Telephone Banking Scams

Please find below information from the Crime Prevention Team at H&F Police about recent telephone banking scams.

Scam 1

First the scammer will ring you and ask a few security questions in order for the victim to confirm who they are. (Remember they rang you!)

These questions will mirror those the bank would normally ask you if you had rung them!

They will also ask for the security digits on the back of your card.

Sometimes they ask you to ring them back, giving you a number to ring, or failing to disconnect themselves and hanging on the line so you think you have dialled a new number. To be on the safe side ring a third party to ensure your phone has been properly disconnected and look up your banks number independently before phoning back.

Scam 2

There is a current scam where the thief rings you and reports that your current bank or credit card has been compromised, but that they will send a courier around to collect the card and can you just confirm your pin number! Obviously once you have given them your number you can rest assured that they will come and collect the card! NEVER give out your PIN.

Scam 3

Offenders contact victims posing as police officers investigating fraudulent activity on their bank card. They sometimes call on more than one occasion to gain trust before attending their homes in ‘plain clothes’ to collect the victim’s bank card and PIN. Police officers would never need to know your pin!

The group tell the victims that they need to run the cards through a machine at Scotland Yard to identify the parties responsible for the fraud. The victim is occasionally given a reference number or codeword, or asked to place their card in an envelope and write the pin number on a slip of paper. They are told not to speak to anyone about the incident as it would jeopardise the investigation.

Once the card and PIN details are obtained, these are then used, often continuously over a number of days at various retail outlets and betting shops. The offenders have also been known to contact the same victims at a later stage to try to obtain their new card details.

If someone tries one of these scams on you, even if they are unsuccessful, please report it to Action Fraud. Reporting details are on the Action Fraud website.

For your information

There are guidelines for how banks should identify themselves if they make an unsolicited call, drawn up by the British Bankers Association (BBA) and the Information Commissioner’s Office. They recommend banks either offer a pre-agreed password to customers or suggest they phone the bank back on a clearly verified number. That is a number that will be found either on your bank card or a statement.

‘Play it safe’

The main High Street banks all say they would NEVER ask people to give sensitive information like passwords or pin numbers if they make an unsolicited call.

Note the NEVER, its not an occasionally or a sometimes or on special occasions, it is a NEVER!

If you are in any doubt at all, you shouldn’t be giving out any information whatsoever.

If you do get these calls, call your bank on their recognised number.

Scams checklist

Always stop, think and be sceptical before signing anything or handing over any money.

If an exciting offer seems too good to be true, think about the following warning signs and ask yourself if it is a scam:

  1. Was the offer unsolicited?
  2. Do you have to respond quickly? What’s the rush?
  3. Do you have to pay for a prize or ‘free’ gift?
  4. Do you have to ring a premium rate number (one starting with ‘09’)?
  5. Are you being asked for your bank or credit card details? This includes passwords, dates of birth, mothers maiden names etc (in fact any personal details)
  6. Is the business reluctant to give you its address or contact details?
  7. Are you being asked to keep the offer confidential?

If the worst happens and you are a victim of a scam, or if you want advice on how to protect yourself, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 (national rate) for help or use this web link.

PC Dave Hinton
Crime Prevention Design Advisor
H&F Police

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