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Bank card fraud warning after rape and gun threat

PUBLISHED: 19:00 19 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:05 05 October 2010

A FRAUDSTER is using genuine courier companies to trick households to hand over their bank cards, detectives warn today. The alert follows a spate when the fraudster conned bank cards and PIN details from unsuspecting victims across London which have even included threats of rape and shooting

By Mike Brooke

A FRAUDSTER is using genuine courier companies to trick households to hand over their bank cards, detectives warn today.

The alert follows a spate when the fraudster conned bank cards and PIN details from unsuspecting victims across East London which have even included threats of rape and shooting.

Victims get a call claiming to be from their bank, usually Barclays, saying their account had been targeted to fraudulent activity.

The caller says he needed to collect the bankcard for analysis and sends a courier company to their home to pick it up.

This is followed a by further phone calls asking for the PIN with threats often made if the information is not given.

One woman was threatened with rape if she didn't co-operate, said cops. A man was told he would be shot.

"This scam is being carried out across East London," said Det Con Deveci. "All the victims are Asian, but we think the suspect is cold-calling people and trying his luck.

"He sound convincing and has managed to persuade some people to hand over their bankcards and PIN numbers."

The caller has a Bengali accent and often says his name is 'Raj Patel,' giving an 0845 number as his contact. He is thought to be in his 20s.

Police are appealing to courier firms to be on their guard for suspicious bookings "as genuine companies are being abused by these fraudsters."

One courier firm contacted police after being booked to pick up a parcel from a 35-year-old woman at an address at Bromley-by-Bow. But the alert courier realised it contained credit cards and became suspicious.

Another victim duped into handing over a bank card and PIN to a courier was a 25-year-old woman in Poplar, a mile away, who later found £661 taken from her bank account.

Other incidents have been reported in Shoreditch, East Ham, Leyton and Dagenham, as well as addresses in Islington, Clerkenwell and across north London.

Police are advising anyone receiving a call not to hand over their bank card or PIN number under any circumstances. A genuine bank caller would never ask for these.

Anyone with information or who has been targeted is asked to contact Chingford CID on 020-8345 3166, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555111.

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