Don’t Fall Victim to Local Scams

Dear members, please take the time to read this email about current and local scams.  Please talk to your friends and family members about it, share the news and help everyone be aware.  Someone you know may be a victim of one of these crimes and they may be too embarrassed or scared to tell anyone. Let them know it’s good to talk about it and not be frightened, victim support can help them and they will be at the Ruth Winston Community Centre’s Health and Well-Being Day on Monday 2nd October from 10am until 2pm to talk to anyone in private about their experience.  Victim support can help them.

The police have requested that the information below is circulated among community groups due to the number of residents in the borough being targeted by fraudsters/tricksters:

1) ATM DISTRACTION THEFT:

Customers are being distracted while using cash machines normally by Suspect 1 engaging them in conversation saying something about the machine being faulty and Suspect 2 noting the pin number. Suspect 1 uses a piece of paper to part cover the machine while pressing the reject button and taking the card. The customer thinks the machine has swallowed the card and goes inside the bank/ supermarket to report it. The suspects then use the card and pin number to withdraw the money straight away, normally at the same machine.

Please ask your members/ residents to be mindful of their surroundings when using cash machines, stop using the machine if something doesn’t feel right, take their card out and call the police straight away. They should also notify their bank of the incident in case they have been defrauded.

2) ARTIFICE BURGLARY:

A suspect (often a female) knocks on a victims door and asks for some money, giving a vaguely plausible reason such as ” To pay for a train ticket as I’ve lost my card”, “My baby is ill I need to get a taxi to the hospital”. The suspect sometimes mentions the victim by name or a neighbour’s name, probably from having read their mail or from sorting through their rubbish. Often the suspect invites themselves in to the house or is invited in by the victim with the suspect asking for a drink or to use the toilet. The suspect then uses this opportunity to take money/ valuables from within the home. This is often repeated on the same victim by the same suspect.

Please ask your members/ residents to ensure that they use their security chain/ spy hole when answering the door and do not open it if they feel uneasy. Never allow a stranger into their home and that includes someone saying they are a police officer. All police officers, including those in uniform, carry a warrant card which they are obliged to show on request. Do not give strangers money regardless of the reason that they give. Any concerns then close the door and call police straight away.

3) TELEPHONE FRAUD:

A victim receives a phone call from someone either purporting to be from their bank or from the police saying their card/ account has been used fraudulently. In order to verify that they are speaking with the customer the caller will ask for their date of birth and/or pin number to be inputted into the phone. Once done they then say they are sending a courier round to collect the bank card so they can investigate the matter. A courier comes round, takes the card then uses the pin number/dob given to withdraw cash/ commit fraud.

Please ask your members/ residents not to input their pin number into a phone or give it out to anyone. Neither the bank nor the police will ever ask for the pin number. If unsure then ask for a reference number and put the phone down. Then use ANOTHER phone to call the bank, checking there is a dialling tone. Do not use the number given by the caller, use a number from your bank statement or from the internet. This will prevent the victim from dialling a fictitious number that goes back to the fraudster or the fraudster keeping the line open by not putting down their handset.

Neither the bank nor the police will ever come to a person’s address to collect their bank cards or request their pin number or date of birth.

If in anyway suspicious then call the police straight away. They should also notify their bank of the incident in case they have been defrauded