Warning after elderly St Albans couple conned in phone scam

PUBLISHED: 12:25 17 March 2015 | UPDATED: 12:25 17 March 2015

Police have been investigating

Police have been investigating


A St Albans couple in their 80s have been targeted by a con artist who claimed to be from a bank’s fraud investigation unit and later scammed them for hundreds of pounds.

Herts Police have today (Tuesday) issued a further warning to alert local residents about such fraudulent actions.

A spokesman said that last Wednesday (11) the octogenarians were phoned by the fraudster who told his victims that someone had withdrawn money from their account and the bank would need their card to cancel it.

The couple were told to confirm their PIN, which they did, and then to place their bank card into an envelope and give it to a taxi driver who later arrived and collected it.

The next day, the couple received another phone call from the same person asking for details of a second bank card.

Again, the victims gave their PIN and were prepared to give their bank cards to a different taxi driver who had been sent to collect them. In this instance, the taxi driver became suspicious and alerted the police who were able to prevent the card being sent to the fraudster.

But, unfortunately, the first card was used to withdraw about £200. The couple’s cards have since been cancelled.

The spokesman said police investigating this incident are working with taxi firms to ensure they are aware that these scams are operating across Herts.

The police and banks would:

• Never ask for your bank account details or PIN number over the phone, so do not disclose these to anyone, no matter who they claim to be

• Never ask you to withdraw money and send it to them via a courier, taxi or by any other means

• Never ask you to send your bank cards, or any other personal property

If you are not happy with a phone call and are suspicious of the conversation, end it and contact the police via non-emergency number 101.

But, when reporting a suspicious phone call to police, wait at least five minutes before attempting to make the call or use a mobile or a neighbour’s phone to ensure you are not reconnected to the offender.

Phones are now available that automatically block withheld numbers, which are often used by offenders. People’s service providers may also be able to assist with blocking unwanted calls.

You can listen to a mock phone scam call by visiting the force’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvWjvsmG1t0

For further information about phone scams and how to avoid becoming a victim, visit www.herts.police.uk/PhoneScams

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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