The UK Cards Association has warned banking customers to be on their guard against a rising type of card fraud, AOL Money reports.
Since chip and PIN technology was introduced, making it more difficult for criminals to carry out other kinds of fraud, the 'courier' scam has become more common, with experts warning that the elderly and other vulnerable groups could be most at risk.
So how exactly does the 'courier' scam, which experts say has caused £1.5 million worth of fraud in less than two years, work?
Victims are targeted first by a phone call from someone, typically claiming to be from the security/fraud department of their bank. The criminal will then say that a fraudulent transaction has been flagged up on the victim's card.
The fraudster will ask them to call the 'bank' back using the number on the back of the card, in order to win their trust that it's a legitimate call. However, by keeping the phone line open, the victim is simply connected back to the criminal.
The fraudster then explains that in order to protect the card, they'll need to collect it via a courier. The criminal will then ask for the victim's PIN. Following this, the courier - unaware of the criminal activity - picks up the card and passes it onto the scammer, who can then use it to withdraw the victim's cash from cash machines.
Katy Worobec, Head of Fraud Control at Financial Fraud Action UK, said that the elderly have been the main target of these 'courier' frauds, but it's spreading fast. According to the UK Cards Association, a recent survey indicated that 80% of consumers felt anyone could potentially be targeted by the scam.
DCI David Carter, Head of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU), said: "We are urging everyone to be on their guard and work with us to help stop this criminal activity. Your bank or the police will never cold call you or email you and ask you for your full login details, cards or PINs. If anyone does, hang up the phone or delete the email."
A spokesperson for thinkmoney commented: "As banking security improves to help protect customers' personal details and finances, criminals are being forced to find different ways of targeting victims.
"This makes it more important than ever to follow basic safety measures. Never write down your PIN or reveal it to anyone - under any circumstances - and never hand your card over to someone else. Taking care to keep your details secret and your card safe is the best way to make sure you don't fall victim to this kind of fraud."