Vigilant counter staff at HSBC in Sutton Town Centre saved one of their customers from being tricked into withdrawing £4,000 – and becoming the latest victim in the ‘bank courier fraud’ scam which is targeting elderly and vulnerable residents.
The resident, who is aged in his 80s, of Epsom Road, Sutton, had received a telephone call purporting to come from his bank on Thursday, 29 September at around 13:30hrs.
The caller advised that there had been fraudulent activity on his account and that his account had been stopped. He was told a new card and PIN would be sent to him but first he would need to withdraw £4,000 cash from his bank to go into his new account.
The resident explained that he couldn’t get to his bank as it was too far away. The caller phoned back moments later and said a taxi was waiting outside to take him there.
But when the resident came into HSBC, High Street, Sutton, to withdraw the money staff chatted to their customer and discovered that he had been told to say the money was to pay for a ‘builder’.
Suspicious, staff called police on 999. Police attended, followed up a number of lines of enquiry and are continuing to investigate.
Safer Neighbourhoods Inspector Kathy Morteo said Police and Sutton Council Trading Standards had worked with more than 300 staff at 50 banks, building societies, Post Offices and currency exchange premises across the borough over recent years to make them aware of the need to question customers making large, out-or-character withdrawals on their accounts.
Over the last few weeks police have distributed crime prevention advice about the courier scam to organisations around the borough and were planning to join with Trading Standards to revisit banks in Sutton Town Centre over the next few weeks to remind banks to remain vigilant.
Insp Morteo praised HSBC for their good work. “This was exactly the outcome that we want with residents not losing any money. Banks are one of the best lines of defence we have to combat this fraud. We will also be working with cab companies too to see how they can help us to protect elderly and vulnerable people.”
Police advise residents not to reveal their bank details or PIN to anyone including their bank. Banks will already have these details and will never ask for your old card back.
If you are called by someone who asks for these, hang up and use a different line to report the call to police on 101 or allow at least five minutes for the line to automatically clear.
Also don’t give your bank cards or money to strangers whatever reason they may give you to part with them. Such requests are likely to be a scam to steal your money.
HSBC Retail Branch Manager, Sutton, Rob Clapham commented: “It is really good to see that members of my team are doing their bit to help prevent such awful crimes. It shows that we are aware of these incidents and that we are putting our customers first. We will do whatever we can to protect our customers from becoming victims of fraudsters.”