Aylesbury Vale police force warns of increasingly common bank card scam
There has been a rise in the amount of these incidents reported locally
The police force in Aylesbury is warning residents to remain cautious after a growing number of similar scams have been reported locally.
The Aylesbury Vale policing team says there has been a rise in fraudulent criminal activity in car parks.
Offenders are taking advantage of public parking areas which encourage card payments by posing as inspectors.
A Thames Valley Police spokesperson said: "Offenders are asking the public if their PINs are working on the machine and confusing them to cause a distraction, then using a device to remove funds from their card.
"If you are paying for parking, please be mindful of your surroundings and possible distractions while you purchase your ticket.
"For further information about how to keep yourself safe from fraud, you can find guidance here."
Among the advice the Thames Valley Police is reiterating online are instructions on how to avoid passing on private information.
A spokesperson said: "Your bank and the police will never ring and ask you to verify your PIN, withdraw cash or purchase high-value goods. They’ll also never come to your home to collect your card, cash or purchased items. If you get a call like this, end the call.
"If you get a call from your bank or the police, make sure you know who the person is before handing over any personal details. You can do this by calling your bank (the number on the back of your card) or the police (101) on a different phone line.
"To get a different line, use a phone owned by a family member, friend or neighbour. This is because scammers can keep phone lines open after pretending to hang up. So while you think you’re making a new phone call, the line is still open to the scammer, who pretends to be someone from your bank or the police (also see Courier fraud).
"Depending on your bank, the security questions they ask may be different, but they’ll never ask you to authorise anything by entering your PIN into your phone.
"Never send money abroad to a person you've never met or to anyone you don’t actually know and trust.
"Likewise, never agree to keep your online relationship a secret. This is a ploy to get you not to tell your family and friends, who’ll see the scam for exactly what it is.
"Equally, don’t accept any offer of money. A scammer may ask you to accept money from them into your own bank account, using a convincing story as to why they can’t use their own account.
"The circumstances may seem genuine, but you may unwittingly be committing the criminal offence of money laundering."
The police also warned of credit card fraud, advising as well as protecting your pin during a transaction of other key advice.
The spokesperson added: "If an ATM eats your card for any reason, report it to your card company straight away, ideally using your mobile while you’re still in front of the machine.
"Make sure you store your card company’s 24-hour contact number in your phone.
"Once you’ve completed a transaction put your money and card away before leaving the cash machine.
"Destroy or ideally shred your cash-machine receipts, mini-statements or balance enquiries when you’ve finished with them."
Another element of banking scams the police force highlights is online fraud.
Police say you should regularly check banking statements and report any suspected online fraud no matter how small the amount.
Thames Valley Police advises, if you need to destroy your bank card, make sure you cut through it, including the metal chip. You can also use a shredder to destroy it.
The police also warn investment fraud is becoming more common.
Often looking to catch out buyers interested in: rare metals, diamonds or gemstones, rare wine, land, or carbon credits and alternative energy technology.
A Thames Valley Police spokesperson said: "In the most common scams, fraudsters cold-call their victims by phone and pretend to be from an investment company. They try to sell investments in emerging markets they claim will lead to financial gains higher than the rates of established investments like ISAs. In reality, the item offered may not exist or is worthless.
"Often the scammers give details you might think only a genuine investment company will have. They may have details of investments you’ve made, shares you hold and know your personal circumstances.
"Remember, the scammers do their homework and make it their business to know as much about you as possible.
"They’ll often call you a few times to form a friendly relationship. If you respond in any way, they’ll keep going, trying to build trust and persuade you to part with your money.
"If they get money from you, they’ll probably call again to persuade you to ‘invest’ more money, perhaps in a different commodity.
"Scammers may say they’re from a reputable investment company; some say they’re stockbrokers or consultants. Always seek independent financial advice before you invest in anything and check with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to see if the company is registered. Don’t just rely on Companies House data.
"Be wary of companies claiming they can recover money from lost investments on your behalf for a ‘one-off’ fee. This could be the same fraudsters trying to scam you again. As before, they’re likely to know all about your previous investment history."
The other increasingly prevalent scam the Thames Valley Police warns against involves conning pensioners.
Elderly people are often targeted by fraudsters who want to trick them into placing their hard-earned savings into fake investment opportunities.
Thames Valley Police warn: "If you’re under 55, you can transfer your pension to another scheme, but you can’t access the funds unless you’re seriously ill. If you’re offered a cash incentive to transfer your pension, you’re likely to face tax charges worth more than half your pension savings.
"If you’re cold-called, get a text, email or similar approach that you haven’t invited, offering a pension review, be careful. It may not be someone acting in your best interests.
"Never make a decision based on phone calls, glossy brochures or pushy salespeople. How often do you buy from a doorstep salesperson? So why trust someone you’ve never met, contacting you from a company you’ve never heard of, with your life savings?
"Always seek advice from an expert who has no connection with the ‘sales pitch’. If possible, research the company. A genuine financial adviser should be registered with the FCA.
"In short, if you receive a cold call, email, text, or any message about your pension, end the call or delete the message immediately. For more advice, visit The Pensions Regulator.
"For more information and help or to report these and many other types of fraud, go to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre."