I was home some weeks ago and got talking to my dad.. As I do..
He started telling me about how he almost fell victim to scam artists some days back and if it wasn’t for his quick thinking he probably would have fallen for it.
So it started off like this. He was sitting at home one evening and the landline phone rang. On the end of the phone was supposedly an officer from Hammersmith Police Station. The “officer” told my dad that they had arrested two gentlemen and having searched them both they found a credit card on one of them belonging to my dad. The “officer” then proceeded to tell my dad that he needed to call a number that they would provide to him to inform them about what was going on before calling his bank to report this finding to ensure they were aware should anything happen with the cards that were found. Concerned, my dad hung up the phone. He had received names, a badge number and was even given a number to call back to verify what he had just been told on the phone. My dad now decided to get his wallet and check to see if he could figure out which card was missing before he would call them back. My dad then picked up his mobile phone to call the number back that he had been given. Before he could do so the “officer” called the landline again asking if he had called the number provided to report it. My dad said that he hadn’t yet and that he would. The “officer” insisted that he needed to call soon in case anything were to happen with the cards. His persistence was making my dad suspicious, but he didn’t let on. He hung up the phone after telling the man on the phone that he would call the number back. A further 10 minutes went by and he called again asking if he had called the number back telling him that it was important for him to do so so that they could proceed with the investigation. My dad knew there was something wrong.
“I will call the number” he said, “But I will call it from another number.”
“You must call the number from the phone I am calling you on..” the person on the line continued “We have this as a registered number and it would enable us to know that we are really speaking with you.”
My dad explained that whether he called from the landline or not, if needs be, he could verify his own identity and it wouldn’t be a problem.
My dad hung up again, but didn’t call the number provided. The phone started ringing. Once again he was asked whether he had made the call. My dad said he would not be making the call from his phone but another and the person on the line said that if he didn’t call back on that number there could be an issue. My dad again told them that he would not call back and hung up.
After that the “officer” called again two more times before giving up. My dad got the number of Hammersmith Police Station and called them explaining what had happened, only to be told that they had no knowledge of what he was referring to and no record of the individual that he spoke to. They told him that what just happened was most probably an attempted scam.
Fast forward to this evening and I was taking a break from working to have dinner. Whilst eating dinner I usually watch an episode of something on BBC iPlayer, today, I chose another episode of Fake Britain. Fake Britain is a show that highlights fake products circulating the country and their dangers, as well making people aware of suspected fraud and how to avoid it all. I was watching an episode and 16 minutes into it a story came on and what happened to the gentlemen in this episode of Fake Britain was exactly what had happened to my dad – only this gentlemen called them back, giving them card numbers and pin details and ended up being conned out of thousands of pounds. It was on this show I learned it was a scam called Courier Fraud. I paused the show and called my dad to make sure I wasn’t just exaggerating what he told me and told him to tell me the story again. When he finished, I told him about what I was watching and told him that I would send him the link as this story was exactly the same as the one he had told me – word for word. The show aired on 3 December, this incident with my dad occurred in November. He was eager to watch what they had found about it. I don’t know if the people who tried to scam my dad are still out there but two people were arrested and jailed for their part in Courier Fraud as well as 6 others in a separate cell.
It shocks me how brazen people are in their attempt to scam people out of their hard-earned money. A lot of the time these opportunists are on the hunt for the next person who they can make a victim. I am so glad that my dad wasn’t one of them.. But the same time I do feel sorry for the people who have fallen victim to these sick individuals.
If you are in the UK and want to watch the episode of Fake Britain I am referring to, I have included the link: Fake Britain, Season 5 Episode 13. Please note: If you are not located within the United Kingdom, I do not think that you will be able to watch the link. Also, I have no rights to the link, it belongs to the BBC and after 21 days the link above will expire.
I urge us all to be more aware of the people we encounter and the phone calls we take. These people think they’re clever but often times they are just lucky with the victims that they choose. Let us not be their next victims!