Neighbourhood Watch scuppers police hoaxers


Tuesday November 6, 2012

Telephone fraudsters are impersonating police officers and bank staff in a bid to scam borough residents out of thousands of pounds.

But one West Kensington resident cottoned onto the cunning ruse after recalling an email warning circulated from her dedicated Neighbourhood Watch organisation.

The fiddle works when someone claiming to be a police offers states over the phone that the supposed victim’s bank card has been cloned and is being used by someone else.

The fraudster dupes the target into calling their bank to alert them to the fraud. However, instead of hanging-up, the villain fails to put the phone down, meaning that when the victim believes they are giving their personal bank information to the bank they are actually still speaking to the cheat.

Hammersmith & Fulham has an incredible 196 Neighbourhood Watch organisations, which cover an incredible 266 streets. They are based on the idea that communities can work together to help prevent crime.

Only smart thinking by the Bolingbroke Road resident prevented the rogues from defrauding her out of thousands of pound.

Wishing to remain anonymous, she said: “I was rung by a woman calling herself DCI Alice Smith, who said my card had been cloned, and someone had been arrested after trying to buy a laptop at the Apple store.

She told me to ring the number on the back of my credit card, to get through to my bank to cancel it. I was so tired I very nearly fell for it. I rang my “bank” and even gave them my pin number and they transferred me back to DCI Smith.

I then remembered the email from my Neighbourhood Watch coordiantor, switched to my mobile, rang my real bank, and cancelled all my cards. Only then did I realise that she wasn’t a DCI, the bank wasn’t my bank.”

Cllr Greg Smith, Deputy Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council, said: “This tale shows that the rogues will stoop to any level in order to rip-off honest residents. The council and police are committed to stamping out all forms of crime and Neighbourhood Watch is a vital tool in the ongoing battle.”

Borough Commander, Chief Superintendant Lucy D’Orsi, said: “This incident shows, without shadow of a doubt that Neighbourhood Watch works. Members are the ‘eyes and ears’ of the community and it is good to see that information is finding its ways into the hands of residents.”

For more information about Neighbourhood Watch in the borough visit