Phone scamsters hit Hackney oldies for hundreds

Dalston Junction London E8 260713 © david.altheer@gmail.com

THE RECENT scam of stealing money by thieves telephonically pretending to be cops is hitting vulnerable people in Hackney. 

Police are investigating reports of old people in the borough being targeted in the fraud, which follows a standard routine.

A call comes to a home phone numbers from someone purporting to be a police officer, saying that someone recently arrested has been found to be carrying details of their credit and bank cards. 

The fraudsters then persuade the target to allow an accomplice to go to their home address. A fake courier turns tup and takes the cards and the pin numbers to “safeguard” them. Next, money is removed from the account.

In one case  a 58-year-old was phoned by a supposed cop, who asked the target to call the number on the back of his card, which he did. He spoke with a woman, who asked for the vital details on the cards and the PIN numbers.

The victim was asked to take his cards to Hammersmith police station. This being far  from Hackney, the criminals sent the phoney courier to collect the credit and bank cards. Almost £700 was withdrawn from the victim’s accounts before they were cancelled.

Police believe that the scam works by the criminal’s not hanging up the phone: when the victim dials the number on the back of the card he or she is still connected to the original caller. At the criminal end of the line, the phone is simply passed to a fellow fraudster pretending to be a bank clerk.

Detective Sergeant Ben Hobbs, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “Banks and the police do not operate in this way. Neither will ever ask for card details. No matter how much information a caller can provide about your bank account, if you have any concerns, hang up.”

Then, he said, you should make sure you have a dialling tone, which indicates that the person to whom you were speaking has hung up. Then, and not before, phone the number on the back of the bank card or go to your nearest branch.

Hamish Scott

* Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a similar offence or knows someone else who may have been targeted in this way should phone 0207 275 3403 or email hackneycid@met.police.

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