Credit card fraudsters are robbing millions via a sophisticated new scam which tricks people into volunteering their cards and pin numbers.
The clever scheme has been revealed by the UKand involves the criminals contacting card holders directly via stolen phone numbers.
They claim to be calling from their bank with news that the person’s debit or credit card needs replacing because of a fraudulent transaction. To gain the customers’ trust they suggest the victims hang up then call their bank straight back to make sure they are genuine.
But they have cleverly kept the line open and simply play back a recording of the dial tone when the victims think they are calling the bank.
A different voice then takes over, pretending to be the bank and then asking the person to read out or key in their pin number. They then send a courier to collect the card.
What is particularly brazen about the scam is that the gang asks the victims to disconnect their phone line so that the supposed fraudsters can’t call them back to make an illegal call! While they are off line the gang then uses the card to make purchases - with the bank unable to contact the victim to check whether transactions are genuine. .
One victim in the UK, a lady named Fiona Keen, had $24,000 or £15,000 stolen from her credit card and bank account. Ms Keen is a retired police officer but was so convinced that she fell for the scam.
"I got a call from a panicky sounding man in the evening saying he believed my Barclaycard had been used for a 'Section 24' fraud, and that to prove I hadn't used the card he needed to send a courier round to collect it. I balked at first, but he reassured me, asking me to call the customer service number on the back of my. I got straight through and was referred to the fraud department, so I thought it must be OK."
The fraudsters kep her on the phone for two hours until a man in a taxi arrived to take six of her cards. Somehow they also persuaded her read out her pin and to disconnect her landline and broadband for two days so they could "wire the money stolen" from her account back to her.
"The fraudsters used my cards to buy computers and phones at what seems like every branch of Argos in London," Keen said. "They also spent hundreds of pounds on food and drink, and made cash withdrawals."
The Payments Council is concerned at the speed with which the crime is increasing: £750,000 was stolen in the first four months of 2012: the same amount as the whole of 2011.