When an older, or vulnerable customer wishes to make a withdrawal which is outside their normal routine (e.g. unusually large and/or especially when they are accompanied by an unknown person).
- tactfully enquire why the cash is needed.
- point out the dangers of carrying large cash amounts.
- discourage the customer from drawing out cash, especially by pointing out the other means of payment available.
Where possible, such advice should be communicated to the customer in a private area.
- Where it is suspected that the customer may be a potential victim, the consent of the customer should be sought to inform the police or the Hertfordshire Trading Standards Doorstep Hotline on 0845 60 444 66.
- Where suspicious circumstances arise, every effort should be made to record the customer and any accompanying person(s) on the CCTV security system.
- Where possible, an attempt should be made to identify any vehicle being used by the customer.
The customer's wishes must always be paramount. However, the sensitive and tactful application of these procedures will prevent customers from becoming victims of crime.
Residents across Hertfordshire, and nationally, have been receiving phone calls from fraudsters claiming to be from the police or their bank.
The callers say they are investigating fraudulent activity and request people’s help in investigating this by asking them to disclose their bank details and/or to withdraw their cash for evidential or “safekeeping” purposes.
Most people identify this as a scam and refuse to participate. However, some have unfortunately fallen victim to this scam and subsequently lost thousands of pounds to the fraudsters.
Several arrests have been made as a result of attempts that have been foiled by bank staff who recognised the signs and alerted the potential victims and police, yet offences continue, with offenders targeting vulnerable and older people - the majority of people targeted are aged over 60. It is therefore vital that bank staff in particular are aware of the scam, so please share this information with your colleagues.
How does the scam work?
The offender calls the victim, claiming to be a police officer investigating a fraud on their bank account and they have someone in custody. They might alternatively claim to be from the victim’s bank, again investigating fraudulent activity.
The caller asks for account information, including card, security and PIN numbers. They may also ask the victim to withdraw a large sum of cash from their bank or to move their money using online banking to a “safe” account. They may also instruct the victim not to tell the bank why they are withdrawing the money, giving the reason that the bank might be involved in the fraud.
The victim may be instructed to put bank cards and/or withdrawn money into an envelope and give them to a courier or taxi, which is sent to the house by the offenders to collect the items. If bank cards are collected they will be later used by the offenders to withdraw money.
In some cases the victim might become suspicious and doubt the validity of what the caller is saying. If this happens, the offender will suggest they call the police via 999 or 101 or contact their bank in order that the victim can confirm the caller’s identity.
However, what the victim doesn’t realise is that the caller hasn’t hung up so the line remains connected even if the victim hangs up, so the victim is put straight back through to the offender who will then pretend to be another person. This ‘new’ person will then validate the original caller’s claims.
We are therefore asking bank staff to be alert to this scam and to ensure that older customers who are looking to withdraw large sums of money are not doing so as a result of a telephone call from someone claiming to be a police officer or bank fraud investigator.
Everybody, and in particular older adults, is at risk from bogus callers and doorstep rogue traders.
Throughout the UK there are many excellent initiatives under way to educate householders, particularly the elderly, especially: -
- Do not deal with uninvited doorstep sellers
- Don't keep unnecessary money in the house
Unfortunately many older and vulnerable adults do fall victim to rogue workmen or plausible sales people who then demand large amounts of money. Isolated and pressured into paying, these victims are often driven to the bank / building society / post office to withdraw the cash.
Banking sources can play an invaluable role in protecting older and vulnerable adults from these criminals.