Originally published at 10:43 pm CST 12-29-2012
London Shomrim Stops Credit Card Bank Scam That Targeted Elderly
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Volunteers from the Golders Green, London Shomrim volunteer community security group stopped an attempted credit card fraud that targeted an elderly couple last week, the London-based Jewish Chronicle reported.
They were called as scammers were in the middle of an attempt to trick the couple into handing over their credit card and PIN details.
Earlier this month, a Jewish woman from the Edgware section of London was tricked into handing over £20,000 (about $32,000) to a gang operating a similar scam.
Police told The JC that gangs from Eastern Europe and South America are targeting elderly couples. A number of Jewish families in north-west London have been hit by similar scams, police said.
The attempted Golders Green theft began when a Jewish retiree received a phone call from a woman who said she was from HSBC bank.
She told the man that the security details of his accounts had been compromised, and said that a courier sent by the bank would arrive at his home collect his credit cards.
The woman then told the man to type his pin number into the phone, hang up and call the police emergency number.
But when he attempted to do that she stayed on the line, playing a recorded message that tricked the victim into believing he was reporting the security breech to police.
However, what the woman did not know is that the man’s wife had simultaneously called Shomrim from her mobile phone.
Seven members of Shomrim’s rapid reaction team immediately responded and waited in the couple’s home and in unmarked cars outside it. They told the retiree to put an card in an envelope and give that to the courier.
When the courier arrived, Shomrim detained him until police arrived and arrested him.
Barnet Police told The JC that a 27-year-old man from north London was arrested on suspicion of fraud and for driving while disqualified.
“This case exemplifies how important is the co-operation of the community to tackle crime successfully,” Police Superintendent Mark Strugnell reportedly said after the arrest.
“We want to remind the community that banks will never ask anyone for their pin number over the phone. If someone does receive such a phone call, they should ring our hotline or the police from a separate phone line. The scammers stay on the landline to block you from calling police. People are being tricked out of thousands of pounds,” Shomrim’s CEO Gary Ost reportedly said, adding that Shomrim volunteers would be on hand to assist families who believe they have been targeted.