Bogus cops using couriers in East End scams to con PIN numbers by phone

Don't tap your PIN number into your phone, police warn

Don't tap your PIN number into your phone, police warn - Credit: Archant

Bogus cops operating scams in London’s East End are using couriers to trick pensioners and vulnerable people to hand over bank cards after giving away their PIN numbers on the phone, police are warning.

At least five incidents have been reported in the past six weeks, with often genuine couriers calling at addresses in Poplar, Bethnal Green, Whitechapel and Stepney—three victims were in their eighties.

The fraudsters pose as police officers or bank security officials and sound plausible when calling potential victims.

They pretend to be investigating bank fraud and require help by asking unsuspecting victims to tap their PIN number into their telephone keypad.

The bogus callers identify the numbers by the touch tone—then a courier turns up on the doorstep to collect the bank cards as part of the bogus “police investigation”.

They now have victims’ bank cards and PIN numbers and can empty their accounts.

“People are still being taken in by these thieves,” Det Con Justin Collymore said. “Fraudsters put a lot of time and effort into their scams and this is what makes them so believable and so confusing for more vulnerable people.”

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Conmen even tell their victims in some cases to call the bank and cancel their card—but the tricksters haven’t hung up, so victims think they are speaking to their bank when they are still connected to the bogus caller.

Police never ask for your bank card or PIN numbers, the public is being advised.

Anyone receiving a suspicious call is being urged to hang up and wait five minutes for the line to clear, or use a different phone, and dial 999 to alert police.

Genuine couriers are being used who are usually unaware that they are helping the scam.

One scam was thwarted last year when a potential victim called his local minicab firm on the Isle of Dogs to take him to his bank in Poplar to make a large withdrawal.

But an alert receptionist smelt a rat and contacted the bank, who alerted police.

The scam was foiled that time—but the tricksters, undaunted, have retuned.