Local active credit card fraudster

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BrianP
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Local active credit card fraudster

Postby BrianP » Tue Sep 01, 2015 1:39 pm

Apologies for the length of this post, but I hope the read will be worthwhile. If anyone else has had experiences similar to mine perhaps they could add to the thread in the hope of exposing this individual and stopping his activities.

Some months ago I was notified of 'unusual transactions' by my credit card company. Some of the transactions were stopped, others had gone through but were indemnified so I suffered no personal loss, other than the inconvenience of changing my card details.

The transactions were mainly online purchases of high-value items, such as professional catering equipment including coffee machines. I was concerned to discover how my personal details had leaked out, so out of curiosity, I traced and spoke to all the traders to see whether I could find any clues.

It turns out that the impostor had supplied my correct address for delivery. Apparently items such as he had been ordering are delivered by courier at a pre-arranged time which would enable the impostor to wait outside the specified address to collect the item from the courier without the householder's knowledge. This individual has been active, using a number of different identities and addresses in Wandsworth, Putney, Clapham and Battersea. He has, however, been betrayed by the same mobile phone numbers.

This suggests that the impostor is local and has access to credit card data including addresses. I have my own suspicions about the type of local establishment that might store these and I am sure readers will have theirs.

One of the suppliers had actually just declined another purchase from the same individual (using another new name with my address but the same phone number) when I made contact. The supplier offered to get back to the impostor and set up a dummy delivery in order to catch him red-handed. Sadly, the impostor did not take up the offer, possibly having smelt a rat.

Meanwhile I was tracing the other transactions that had gone through. One was to Wandsworth Council. This turned out to be a payment for a parking offence. I thought that this would clearly identify the name and address of the individual. In contrast to the attitude of the other commercial victims, Wandsworth Council refused outright to supply the details to me, citing 'data protection' (that is, protecting the identity of a criminal at the expense of honest taxpayers) but said they would provide details to the police, if requested by the police themselves. They declined to say whether they themselves would be taking action to prosecute the individual for having defauded them.

If any other readers have had experience of reporting fraud to the police, they will know what I'm talking about. Every effort is made to avoid the victim communicating directly with an investigator. You are referred to an organisation called 'Action Fraud' which issues a reference number and does nothing else. I contacted the 'Safer Neighborhood team' mentioning the offer from the trader to set up a dummy delivery and was told that the officer would need to contact his superiors, but I received no further word.

I am not for a moment suggesting that the police are being lazy - they clearly have more pressing priorities and are suffering from cuts like the rest of us. Several senior officers have admitted that the police cannot cope with the level of online fraud. They are even now looking at abandoning routine investigation of burglary.

If I were a criminal, I would be rubbing my hands with glee. So the question I pose is, if the police are unable to do their job protecting us from crime, some of us may well be prepared to take the DIY approach, using publicity, civil court action, or whatever. But should public authorities like Wandsworth Council be allowed to expose their taxpayers to the risk of further crime by sitting on information on the grounds of 'data protection' ?
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Annabel (admin)
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Re: Local active credit card fraudster

Postby Annabel (admin) » Tue Sep 01, 2015 2:36 pm

Thank you for sharing.

Just to clarify, do you think they order stuff for your house and then wait outside?

That's really scary...
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BrianP
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Re: Local active credit card fraudster

Postby BrianP » Tue Sep 01, 2015 4:42 pm

Exactly that. In one instance, one of the suppliers phoned the impostor to clarify dubious details, and the impostor went into considerable detail about how he was my tenant and really lived at my address. On delivery the impostor waits outside to 'save time' and takes delivery at the roadside.

By the way, I complained about the attitude of Wandsworth Council to the Office of the Information Commissioner, with no success. Today's 'Times' has a story about unpaid volunteers being taken on to drive police cars.....
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kiwimummy
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Re: Local active credit card fraudster

Postby kiwimummy » Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:43 pm

Very sorry this happened to you.

It also happened to some friends of ours - a fraudster ordered pills over the internet using a friend's husband's credit card. When they arrived, he was ready in the car outside, and claimed them as his in husband's name.

Funnily enough a bit like a bad Hollywood movie, the pills were viagra, and the scammer left the packing slip - it was nearly a divorce until the police were able to reassure my friend it was a scam.

It's not uncommon.
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BMW
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Re: Local active credit card fraudster

Postby BMW » Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:11 pm

Had a similar incident. People keep applying for credit cards in my name and come to my house/letter box trying to fish out the credit cards and pins. Luckily I check my letter box everyday so I noticed that someone tried to stuff my letterbox with rubbish so they could get to the Mail on top, and surprise surprise credit cards arrived a few days later.. Which I never ordered.
I don't understand how anyone can get an account or credit card like that. They keep applying for them online, all they have is my name and address. Acrionfraud is useless and police too. Signed up for experian alert service and cifas, nobody helped me. Also set up a Noc password, so no phone contract or bank accounts can be set up without ths password.
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BrianP
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Re: Local active credit card fraudster

Postby BrianP » Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:53 am

I have also signed up for CIFAS alerts. Online security is vital. We become vulnerable, though, when, say, we order a local takeaway meal for delivery using a card; there's no way of knowing how secure your details will be. That is the direction my own suspicions lie. The frustrating thing is that the parking fine issued by Wandsworth Council was not simply a ticket, it was a fine issued by post to the owner of the vehicle following a check with the DVLA. They hold the complete key to the problem, but nobody thinks it important enough, and meanwhile our man is still out there.
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1234
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Re: Local active credit card fraudster

Postby 1234 » Fri Sep 04, 2015 4:35 pm

I've first hand experience with this. Returned from honeymoon to a credit account statement from H&M.
When I investigated further it turned out the account was entirely in my name with all correct details (address, dob, name etc) so basically identity theft BUT the thing that freaked me was the goods had been ordered and posted to my address and accepted by a neighbour on my behalf. Further investigation of my credit report showed that H&M weren't the only company.

It really freaked me out as I assumed that one of my neighbours had watched the house, identified I was at work and so stolen my identity to get things delivered online.

It was all too easy for the fraudster but fortunately easy to get rectified when I identified it.

I got added to CIFAS but really there is nothing else I could do. I added extra security with experion etc but when I went to open a legitimate account (mobile phone) a few months later there were no additional checks made despite me being registered with CIFAS and there supposedly being requirements to do extra checks with the ratings agencies.
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dudette
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Re: Local active credit card fraudster

Postby dudette » Mon Sep 07, 2015 7:21 am

Sorry to hear about your experience and it's ludicrous that the police aren't investigating this. Have you tried speaking to your local councillor? They may be able to help elicit the information from the council.
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Jen66
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Re: Local active credit card fraudster

Postby Jen66 » Mon Sep 07, 2015 2:21 pm

It's amazing how unwilling banks and police are to investigate credit card and online fraud.

In many instances the victim has to turn detective him/herself.

A couple of years ago my card was cloned and being used by someone downloading ****** and visiting strip clubs in Australia. Initially the bank refused to refund me saying they saw no evidence of fraud. I had to point out that as I had used my card in Pizza Express in SW London at 2pm, I'd be hard pushed to be using it in Melbourne strip clubs 12 hours later.

People loitering outside your home and intercepting goods sounds very sinister though.
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atbattersea
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Re: Local active credit card fraudster

Postby atbattersea » Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:50 pm

Companies and public bodies will always cite "data protection" if you ask them for information, but most of the time they don't know what it means - it's just a knee-jerk reaction. It may be possible to get the information from Wandsworth council, but you are going to need to go through legal channels to get it. I don't mean the police, I mean solicitors, judges and court orders.

But I doubt you'll want the expense of that.

As far as the police not investigating crime goes (for the record, Wandsworth Council seem to be the same - ask them to do something that's within their remit as far as anti-social behaviour or crime goes, see how far you get), at the end of the day they can only do what we pay them to do. If we have government (local and national) driven by ideological agenda, then we end up with what we have (they cannot enforce the law, they cannot enforce border controls and they are closing down courts and cutting services to make legal enforcement more difficult for us all).
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BrianP
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Re: Local active credit card fraudster

Postby BrianP » Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:58 am

I absolutely agree. I am looking at the possibility of civil action. The 6-month deadline for summary prosecution has now lapsed, so the excuse for witholding data because of the risk of compromising a criminal investigation no longer applies. As you say, civil action is expensive - any suggestions for helpful pro-bono practitioners will be gratefully received! I note dudette's suggestion of a local councillor (for which many thanks), but sad to say, in my experience, elected officials - including MPs - very rarely upset the applecart if it means taking on the establishment, despite what they may say at election time.
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Lori@Ayrton
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Re: Local active credit card fraudster

Postby Lori@Ayrton » Tue Sep 15, 2015 11:59 am

A similar situation happened to a friend of mine, but more to do with bank security...

A woman phoned his bank pretending to be the account holder and the bank let her access his whole account (that's right, HIS account! Not sure how the bank didn't sense a fraudster there).

She took out £500 of his money. It was all sorted in the end but definitely a scary situation when an account can be compromised so easily, especially with just one phone call!
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atbattersea
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Re: Local active credit card fraudster

Postby atbattersea » Tue Sep 15, 2015 12:16 pm

Lori@Ayrton wrote:A woman phoned his bank pretending to be the account holder and the bank let her access his whole account (that's right, HIS account! Not sure how the bank didn't sense a fraudster there).
Most of these fraudsters are very good at social engineering, and the banks are pretty lax (even if they pretend otherwise). I had a problem with someone actually going into several banks and withdrawing cash over the counter pretending they were me (no fake ID or anything like that, just a clever trick with fooling the cashier that everything was alright - which I won't detail).

Then there's the other type who phone you pretending they are your bank or the police, and need to send a courier to collect your credit cards. They are just so brazen and confident that people just agree to it. I've tripped them up in the past though - just ask them a question that it's likely only a police officer would know, for example (what does s18 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act say?). They put the phone down, sharpish. :-)
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BrianP
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Re: Local active credit card fraudster

Postby BrianP » Thu Sep 24, 2015 10:09 am

Today's 'Times' carries the depressing news that 'Action Fraud' actually uses an algorithm - not a human being - to decide whether or not a fraud should be investigated. It would seem (in my case) that the algorithm is incapable of identifying evidence which would clearly identify the criminal. Here is the online link (paywall, regrettably): http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/c ... 566237.ece
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