Fraudsters have fleeced people of £23.6m in the past year by tricking them into transferring cash into dodgy bank accounts. Now Neighbourhood Watch is hoping its army of 173,000 volunteers can crack down on the crooks and help people avoid becoming victims.
The way the fraud works is that the criminal calls and pretends to be from a bank. The scammer convinces the victim that fraud has been detected on their account and that they have to move their money into a so-called "safe account" or risk losing their savings. The felons have a range of tricks to deceive people, such as "spoofing" the telephone number on the victim's caller ID display so that it matches their bank's number, or referring to genuine account information that they have fraudulently obtained elsewhere.
Consumers have been warned to be wary of cold callers who suggest they hang up the phone and call them back; fraudsters can keep a phone line open by not putting down the receiver at their end.
If you think you may be a victim, contact your bank and report the fraud to the police through Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.