Con men targeted a 96-year-old woman by giving false information concerning her bankcards. She was told the cards were broken, and the men went on to steal hundreds of pounds from her account.
The scam, currently being worked across London, was exposed by the bank working in tandem with Croydon Council’s trading standards team.
Trading standards were notified on Monday 29 July by staff at a Lower Addiscombe Road branch of Natwest, when their systems identified the theft from their elderly customer’s account; the scam is operating across a range of high street banks in the London area.
She was told by the con men that the magnetic strips on her bankcards needed to be replaced. The men claimed to be from her bank, asked for her pin number and she complied.
A youth, aged 15 or 16, about 5 foot 2 inches tall arrived to collect the cards shortly after the phone call. He followed her into her flat and located the place where she kept her bankcards.
He asked her to put the cards into a large white envelope and told her to sign the seal. He made her sign a piece of paper torn from his notebook, claiming it was a receipt.
Councillor Simon Hoar, cabinet member for community safety, said: “It’s worth reiterating that nobody should ever hand over cash, cards or personal information to strangers appearing at their front door, unless they’re completely confident that the caller’s reason for asking is legitimate.”
£250 was withdrawn from her account at a nearby cash-dispensing machine shortly after the cards were stolen from the property.
Councillor Hoar said: “As well as Croydon’s, the trading standards departments of a number of authorities have had reports and are working to clamp down on what is a nasty, cowardly crime.”