Fraud on the rise in the city

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A sophisticated type of fraud is on the rise in Milton Keynes.

According to figures released today by Pay Your Way, over three quarters of people in Milton Keynes, 82 per cent, feel confident they would be able to spot a fraudulent telephone banking call.

However, after hearing how the card fraud phone scam works, over half of people in Milton Keynes, 58 per cent, were surprised by how sophisticated it is, a quarter, 27 per cent, worried they were more vulnerable than they thought and over three quarters, 84 per cent, felt that anyone could be a potential victim to the fraud.

The scam involves a person being called by someone claiming to be from their bank and told that their debit or credit card needs collecting as it needs replacing following fraud on their account.

The caller often suggests the person hangs up and calls the bank back if they want to ensure the call is genuine, but stays on the line, tricking the person into thinking they’re calling their bank.

The criminal will then ask the person to key in their PIN number, before sending a courier to collect the card. The victim is told the card is going to the bank to be changed but is actually delivered to the fraudster to use along with the PIN obtained during the scam.

Pay Your Way, the Payments Council’s education campaign, is working with The UK Cards Association and Financial Fraud Action UK, to raise awareness of how to avoid becoming a victim of this type of crime. More than £1.5 million has now been lost to this crime, with the same amount - £750,000 - stolen in the first four months of 2012 that was stolen during the whole of 2011. This equates to a three-fold increase.

With 93 per cent feeling that older adults in the region would be particularly at risk, the campaign is encouraging people to make sure that older relatives and friends are also aware of the scam in order to stamp out this kind of crime and help older generations to keep their finances secure.

In response to the newly-released figures, tips to help people arm themselves against fraud can now be found at www.payyourway.org.uk, where a whole range of guidance on safer payments and banking is available.

Head of the bank sponsored Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU), the specialist police unit that tackles UK card and cheque fraud, DCI Paul Barnard said: “Many of us feel confident that we can spot fraudsters but this type of crime can be sophisticated and could happen to anyone. If you have friends or relatives who you feel may be vulnerable, please help them to be more aware of the potential risks and what to look out for. Remember, if you are the innocent victim of card fraud you will not suffer any financial loss.

“If you think you have become a victim of fraud on your account you should contact your bank in the first instance, although if there is a crime in progress you should call 999 straightaway.”

Follow these simple tips to avoid becoming a victim:

1. Never hand over your card: Your bank or the police will NEVER ring you and tell you that they are coming to your home to pick up your card, so never hand it over to anyone who comes to collect it.

2. Never share your PIN: Your bank will NEVER ask you to authorise anything by entering your PIN into the telephone. NEVER share your PIN with anyone – the only times you should use your PIN are at a cash machine or when you use a shop’s chip and PIN machine.

3. Always speak to the bank securely: Before calling your bank, make sure you can hear the dial tone and only ever call your bank on an advertised number.