By Celia Bloor - 27th October 2012 7:05am
Yet another doorstep con — be warned.
There is a new and clever credit card scam — be wary of those who come bearing gifts. It just happened to friends a week or so ago in St. Albans, and it can pretty well now be happening anywhere else in the country.
It works like this: it started with a phone call from someone who said that he was from some outfit called 'Express Couriers' asking if they were going to be home because there was a package for them, and the caller said that the delivery would arrive at their home in roughly an hour.
And sure enough, about an hour later, a Delivery man turned up with a beautiful Basket of flowers and wine. They were very surprised since it did not involve any special occasion or holiday, and they certainly didn't expect anything like it.
Intrigued about who would send them such a gift, they inquired as to who the sender was. The deliveryman's reply was, he was only delivering the gift package, But allegedly a card was being sent separately (the card has never arrived!). There was also a consignment note with the gift.
He then went on to explain that because the gift contained alcohol, there was a £3.00 'delivery charge' as proof that he had actually delivered the package to an adult, And not just left it on the doorstep to just be stolen or taken by anyone.
This sounded logical and they offered to pay him cash. He then said that the company required the payment to be by credit or debit card only so that everything is properly accounted for.
The husband, who, by this time, was standing beside his wife, pulled out of his wallet his credit/debit card, and 'John', the 'delivery man', asked the husband to swipe the card on the small mobile card machine which had a small screen and keypad where he was also asked to enter the card's PIN and security number. A receipt was printed out and given to them.
To their surprise, between Thursday and the following Monday, £4,000 had been charged/withdrawn from their credit/debit account at various ATM machines, particularly in the Midlands area!
It appears that somehow the 'mobile credit card machine' which the deliveryman carried was able to duplicate and create a 'dummy' card with all our card details, after the husband swiped their card and entered the requested PIN and security number.
Upon finding out the illegal transactions on their card, of course, they immediately notified the bank which issued us the card, and the credit/debit account has been closed.
They also personally went to the Police, where it was confirmed that it is definitely a scam because several households have been similarly hit.
WARNING: Be wary of accepting any "surprise gift or package", which you neither expected nor personally ordered, especially if it involves any kind of payment as a Condition of receiving the gift or package.
Also, never accept anything if you do not personally know and/or there is no proper identification of who the sender is. Above all, the only time you should give out any personal credit/debit card information is when you yourself initiated the purchase or transaction!
Monday 19th Aug
Lord Combermere Car Park