Fraudsters posing as bank staff or police were thwarted as they tried to con five people in Brighton into handing over their bank cards in one day.
They did, however, manage to swindle £200 from one of the five people.
Sussex Police urged people – especially the elderly or those living alone – to be wary of handing over their bank details and their bank cards.
The five cases in Brighton all happened on Wednesday (16 April).
Calls were made asking those answering for their bank and card details, with the caller pretending to be from a bank or the police.
They say that the cards have been used fraudulently and that they need to act urgently to protect themselves.
They suggest that the intended victims hang up and ring the bank or police back to ensure that the call is genuine.
But they stay on the line and then pretend to be the police or the bank and tell the intended victim to key in or read out their PIN – or number.
They send a taxi or courier, who may know nothing about the crime, to collect the bank card. With the card and the PIN, they can spend the victim’s money.
Four of the five people called in Brighton on Wednesday grew suspicious and did not part with any information or money.
In the fifth case a woman gave her bank and card details and handed her cards over to a courier at the door together with £200 cash.
The police were told and the cards were cancelled before they could be used.
There were four similar attempts in Bognor on the same day but all were thwarted.
Sussex Police said: “There had been a recent rise in this crime across the force area, and elsewhere in the country, although the trend has slackened recently.
“And more and more residents are not being fooled.”
Detective Inspector Jim McKnight said: “Under no circumstances would the police or your bank request your PIN number over the telephone or arrange collection of your bank cards from your home address in this manner.
“It is good that many people are already heeding our advice and we urge anyone hearing about this scam to pass it the message on to any friends and relatives who may not be aware of this particular type of targeted fraud to prevent any vulnerable friends or family members from becoming victims.
“Never give out your bank details to someone who has contacted you on your home phone unsolicited.
“If you have any suspicions please do not use the phone you have just been called on to contact the police or your bank.
“If possible use another phone to contact the police to report it or to contact a friend to relative to alert them.”
Anyone with information about the conmen carrying out these crimes is asked to phone Sussex Police on 101, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
For online advice on fraud prevention, click here.
And The Little Book of Big Scams also gives advice on how to prevent a wide variety of frauds.
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