London,
16
July
2009
|
00:00
Europe/London

Public warned over credit card scam

Members of the public are being warned to watch out for a double-pronged scam that uses a fake parcel delivery company and fake adverts for electrical goods to obtain people’s credit and debit card details and to obtain money without supplying goods. Hackney and Westminster councils are working with City of London police’s Economic Crime Unit to investigate the scam.

In one part of the fraud, cards are pushed through people’s doors claiming to be from a company called Parcel Express UK, saying that they have missed delivery of a parcel. When the householder calls the number, they are asked to pay a customs charge by credit or debit card. The parcel never arrives, and the card details are later used for criminal purposes.

One way that the cards are used is to pay for adverts in local, ethnic and national press, selling electrical goods at greatly reduced prices. Anybody attempting to buy from the adverts is told that credit card facilities is not working and to transfer the funds into a bank account . The goods never arrive.

Cllr Alan Laing, Hackney Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “The investigation is still at an early stage, but we wanted to alert people to this scam. Our advice is only ever give your credit card or bank details to a known and trusted company.”
Cllr Daniel Astaire, at Westminster City Council, cabinet member for community safety, said: "Fraudsters are creating ever more sophisticated scams and unfortunately people need to practice a healthy cynicism when buying goods and handing over financial details. Make sure you use reputable, known businesses, shop around to check on prices and supply and don t seize on the first bargain you come across. If you get a card saying you ve missed a parcel and need to pay a charge, think very carefully about the validity of this request."
Anybody who believes they may have given their credit card or bank details to Parcel Express UK should contact their credit card provider or bank immediately. Anyone who has been a victim of either of these scams should contact Consumer Direct on 08454 040506. Further advice on similar frauds can be found at www.consumerdirect.gov.uk