A Croydon fraudster has been jailed after posing as a courier to snatch bankcards from elderly people.
Elliot Dini, 24, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation at Croydon Crown Court last week.
The New Addington resident reaped £2,100 from his scheme, in which he targeted people aged in their 70s, located in Croydon, Bromley and Surrey.
Courier fraud involves the fraudster telephoning their victim and claiming to be someone from an authority- usually the police, a bank or Serious Fraud Office. They tell them that their bank account has been compromised and their card must be collected.
Detective Constable Robert Jamieson said: “We have seen a big increase in the number of these courier frauds recently, and people are still being targeted by other fraudsters.”
“It is vital that the public are aware of how these conmen operate and that they never give their PIN or bank cards to anyone- whoever they claim to be.”
Dini’s ploy was foiled by his final victim: a 77-year-old man from Croydon who phoned his bank because he was concerned about a man contacting him who claimed to be his local financial advisor.
After confirming that no representative had been in touch, the bank contacted the local police, who arrived at the victim’s home on Courtwood Lane to find Dini in the living room.
He was “caught red-handed” and arrested on the spot.
He had gained access by claiming to be a courier sent to collect a bankcard by the resident’s local bank.
DC Jamieson explained that the most convincing element of courier fraud is that the fraudster will often instruct the victim to hang up and call the police or Serious Fraud Office on a genuine number to confirm their identity.
“The victim dials the new number, but the fraudster does not disconnect, so, unknown to the victim, they are still speaking to the suspect or a co-conspirator,” he said.
The fraudster then convinces the victim to reveal their PIN, usually by typing it in on their keypad. The perpetrator is able to tell which keys have been pressed.
After a ‘courier’ snares the bankcard, it is either used immediately to obtain cash, or delivered to an accomplice and used to purchase items at shops. DC Jamieson added: “On some occasions victims have been driven to a bank and instructed to empty their bank account.”
Detective Inspector Simon Harding, who is leading the investigations into these on-going frauds in Croydon said: “It is absolutely vital that people make their elderly and vulnerable family, friends and neighbours aware of this scam.”
He added: “If you are in any doubt at all that your bank card may have been targeted for fraud, the best thing is to simply cut it up and inform your bank, who will despatch a new one to you.”
Dini’s conviction comes soon after Shaun Moore, 21, appeared in Croydon Magistrate’s Court for similar courier fraud in September. Police are continuing their enquiries on the matter.
The Metropolitan Police Service has produced its “Little Book of Big Scams” full of information about the latest frauds and cons and the best ways of avoiding them.
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