An elderly man was the victim of a gift card scam in Peterborough worth around £500.
The scam was reported to police yesterday.
Community safety officer for Peterborough Helen O’Driscoll said: “The caller advised he was from Lloyds Bank and there had been an issue with his card and they needed him to make sure all was fine by encouraging him to purchase store gift cards from Currys.
“He was assured that the money would all be returned to him by the bank. Fraudsters are using online store gift cards to collect money from victims because they can be easily redeemed and sold on.
“The fraudsters don’t need the physical card to redeem the value and will instead use tactics to persuade victims to purchase gift cards in large amounts and read out the serial code on the back over the phone.
“We often see this scam linked to iTunes gift cards and more recently ASDA and Argos.”
The bank is investigating and is believed to have stopped a loan being taken out in the man’s name. It is also expected that the bank will refund the initial money lost also which was around £500.
A warning has also been issued about fake TV licensing emails.
Helen said: “Fraudsters are sending out fake TV licence emails regarding refunds and payment issues to people across the UK.
“They will use headlines such as ‘correct your licensing information’, ‘billing information updates’ and ‘renew now’ to trick people into clicking on the link within the email.
“When a victim clicks on the link they will be led to a convincing looking TV Licensing website. The website is designed to harvest as much personal and financial information as possible from the victim.
“Although all the emails are different in style, they all lead to the same website which is being hosted on different domains. The emails claim that TV Licensing has been trying to contact customers regarding the payment of a bill or a change to their personal information.
“The fraudulent website will prompt victims to add their payment details, including the Card Verification Value (CVV) code on the back of their card, account number and sort code.
“With this information, fraudsters could drain bank accounts and commit identity fraud. It may also ask for the victim’s name, date of birth, address, phone number, email and even mother’s maiden name which suggests fraudsters will try to access other online accounts.
“Action Fraud is now working with retailers to help raise the profile of this fraud type with the general public.”
How to protect yourself from gift card fraudsters:
. Gift cards can only be used to purchase goods and services from the retailer named on the card. Never provide the numbers on the back of gift cards to someone you don’t know.
. No genuine organisation will ask you to pay taxes, bills or fees using gift cards, or any other type of voucher. If you’re contacted by anyone that asks you to do this, you’re very likely the target of a scam.
. Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information in case it’s a scam. Even if someone knows your basic details (such as your name and address), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Never give out bank details to anyone via the phone or email.
. Genuine banks or other trusted organisations will not pressure you to make a financial transaction on the spot. If something feels wrong then it’s usually right to question it.
TV Licensing has the below useful tips for spotting a scam email:
. Never answer an unsolicited email from TV Licensing - the organisation will never email you, unprompted, to tell you that you’re entitled to a refund or ask for bank details/personal information.
. Check the email contains your name – TV Licensing will always include your name in any emails they send you.
. Check the email subject line - anything along the lines of “Action Required”, “Security Alert”, “System Upgrade”, “There is a secure message waiting for you”, and so on, should be treated as suspect.
. Check the email address - does the email address look like one that TV Licensing use? For example firstname.lastname@example.org. Look closely as often the address may be similar.
. Check for a change in style - often the scammers will take the real emails and amend them. Look out for changes in the wording used, especially if it seems too casual or familiar.
. Check for spelling and grammar - are there any spelling mistakes, missing full stops or other grammatical errors?
. Check the links go to the TV Licensing website - hover over the links in the email to see their destination and check the web address carefully. If you are not sure, go directly to the TV Licensing website.
. All of TV Licensing’s guidance on this issue is available on their website.
If you think you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040. Your local crime reduction officers will also be happy to help and can offer support and guidance – call 101 and let them know.