Scam of the week: the 'card courier' scam
A card scam in which people are tricked into handing over their bank card details and pin numbers has seen customers duped out of £1.5 million in the last 12 months.
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 an alternative number for people to call back on to ensure the call is genuine. But instead of hanging up many people are tricked into thinking the call is from their bank and stay on the line.
In total, £1.5 million has been lost to this type of crime.
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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.
Used by the holder to buy goods and services, credit cards also have a monthly or annual spending limit, which may be raised or lowered depending on the creditworthiness of the cardholder. But unlike charge cards, borrowers aren’t forced to pay the balance off in full every month and, as long as they make a stated minimum payment, can carry a balance from one month to the next, generating compound interest. As the issuing company is effectively giving you a short-term loan, most credit cards have variable and relatively high interest rates. Allowing the interest to compound for too long may result in dire financial straits.