The scam works by the victim being telephoned by the fraudster to renew their debit or credit card owing to a fraud on the account. The owner is told to key in their pin number on the phone and a courier is sent out to collect the card. The card is then sent direct to the criminal who also has the pin number.
The majority of victims are older adults and the scammers often give suggest people call the number on the back of their card to ensure the call is genuine. But the fraudsters leave the line open instead of hanging up, and many people are tricked into thinking the call is to their bank. In total, £1.5 million has been lost to this type of crime and £750,000 of this was taken in the first four months of the year - the same as the whole of 2011.
The UK Payments Council has urged people never to hand over their card to anyone who has come to the door, never to enter their pin number over the telephone and to always speak to their bank securely by making sure there is a dial tone when calling and only ever using the bank’s advertised number.
"Many of us feel confident that we can spot fraudsters but this type of crime can be sophisticated and could happen to anyone," warns DCR Paul Barnard, head of the bank sponsored dedicated cheque and plastic crime unit (DCPCU). "While we have seen an increase in this type of fraud, we know collectively we can stamp it out.
If you have friends or relatives who you feel may be vulnerable to this, please help them to be more aware of the potential risks and what to look out for," he adds.
You can report a fraud or internet crime to Action Fraud by using their online fraud reporting tool, or by speaking to their specialist fraud advisers on 0300 123 2040.