Police have released CCTV images of a man that they would like to speak with after a number of residents in the county were duped into handing over their bank cards and PIN details.
Two offences occurred in August with approximately £7,000 being stolen but detectives are keen to locate a man seen using stolen bank cards at cashpoints in Bedford.
On Saturday, August 23 an 81 year old woman was targeted by criminals claiming to be police officers working in the Fraud Squad.
The offenders convinced the victim that irregular payments had been made on her card and they needed to collect her cards to ensure no further money could be stolen. A few minutes later one of the offenders – an Asian man, in his mid-20s, 5ft 8ins tall, short brown hair and wearing a dark fleece top – arrived at her home in Ridgeway, Bedford, and took the cards and PIN details.
CCTV cameras then picked up a man using the stolen card at a Bedford cashpoint. He went on to withdraw £1,000 before the card was stopped.
Two days later the same scam was used to convince a 54 year old man that his personal and business bank accounts had been used fraudulently. The offenders claimed to be from Scotland Yard and told the victim that they would need to collect his bank cards after he handed over PIN details. The man left an envelope under his door mat containing
numerous bank cards and a courier – who the man did not see – collected them. In total,
£6,000 was stolen from his accounts. Once again, an offender was caught on CCTV using the cards.
Detective Constable Claire Long, who is investigating the two cases, is keen to speak with anyone who may have information or may recognise the man in the CCTV images.
DC Long said: “These are appalling crimes that have often robbed people of their entire savings and left them feeling distraught and angry that they have been conned. I would urge anyone with information to come forwards and speak with us and also encourage anyone who recognises the individual pictured to give us a call.
“I would continue to warn residents throughout Bedfordshire to remain on their guard.
These people are still trying to take advantage of people in our county and if you have older friends or relatives, please do make them aware of this sort of scam.
“Let them know that banks and police officers will never ask you to withdraw cash or hand over cards and they must not go along with any suggestion of this kind. The fraudsters may call repeatedly during the day and if this is the case, you must ring the police as soon as you can by using an alternative phone.”
This is a national scam known as the courier scam and it has many variations but
usually follows this method:
• A fraudster will cold call you on a landline, claiming to be from your bank or the
police. Often older people will be targeted. The “bank” or “police” will state their
systems have spotted a fraudulent payment on your account, or your card is due to
expire and needs to be replaced.
• In order to reassure you that they are genuine, they suggest that you hang up and
ring the bank/police back straight away. However, they don’t disconnect the call
from the landline so that when you dial the real phone number for your bank or the
police, you are actually still speaking to the fraudster.
• They then ask you to read out your PIN or type it on your phone keypad. They may
ask for details of other accounts you hold with the bank or financial service provider.
• Finally, they send a courier to you to collect your bank card, or the cash that you
will be withdrawing from the compromised accounts. The fraudster will have then
obtained your name, address, full bank details, card and PIN.
Banks do contact customers about potential security threats, but will never ask for your PIN number, or send a courier to your home, or collect your bank card. Neither will the police. If you receive a call like this, end it immediately and use a different phone such as your mobile or a neighbour’s phone to contact the police.
You can also report it to www.actionfraud.police.uk. Actionfraud also has a wealth of
information about this and other scams, along with prevention tips and advice for victims.