A dramatic rise in telephone based scams has resulted in UK cardholders being tricked into giving away details allowing fraudsters access to a total value of £7.5 million.
Figures from Financial Fraud Action UK and the UK Cards Association reveal that over 1,600 bank customers were tricked into revealing their card information over the phone. The statistics, from between January and August this year, revealed that the average victim had £4,200 stolen from their account.
The police are warning of a large rise in telephone card scams, citing criminal activity within the first eight months of 2012 was ten times the rate for the entire previous year.
The criminal gangs responsible are posing as a representative from the bank or even as a police officer.
They request details by claiming that the holder has been a victim of fraud. They even give the victim a number to verify the call, but once the receiver has been placed down they stay on the line, posing as a bank official.
This means that the number dialed never connects and the victim remains on the initial call.
A courier then collects the card, having received details such as the pin number, informing the holder that they are to drop it off at the bank. Instead they withdraw money with the stolen details.
The police warn that the criminals responsible purposefully target older, potentially more vulnerable members of society, with the average age of victims being 69.
DCI Dave Carter, Head of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit said:
“We can all protect ourselves and our relatives by remembering that banks will never ask for either your card or your PIN, the only people who will ever ask you for your PIN are criminals. If someone on the phone asks for it, hang up immediately.
"Bank staff will never ask for security details over the phone. However new findings released show that 12% of bank customers were unaware of this. The advice from Financial Fraud Action UK is under no circumstances do you reveal your pin number to anybody."