Fraudsters rip off customers of Britain's oldest bank

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man on the phone

C Hoare & Co, the oldest bank in the country, has written to its customers, warning them that they could be targeted by fraudsters. Apparently a gang of criminals have got their hands on C Hoare & Co uniforms, and are visiting customers, to fool them into handing over their bank cards.

So how does the scam work, and what warning signs should you watch for?

The Daily Mail said the fraudsters had got hold of email and telephone details of customers, and that the first stage was to send them an email from a bogus website - or to phone them.

They use a number of techniques in order to get personal information - either claiming to be from the bank or claiming there is a problem with the individual's computer and trying to get remote-control access. The aim of these approaches is to get personal or financial information.

When they receive a positive response - and the information they need - they visit the customer in person - dressed in the bank's distinctive uniform - and persuade them to part with their Visa card. This is typically done by persuading individuals that they have been sent by the bank because the card has been compromised.

According to a report in the Telegraph, one customer lost £500,000 as a result of the fraud. The bank warned that around three customers a week were being visited by the fraudsters, so it's was essential for everyone to stay alert to the risk.

Protect yourself

This form of fraud is growing increasingly common. One gang in London is said to have netted £2.4 million in two years through so-called courier scam - from over 2,000 victims.

The Metropolitan Police have issued a warning about this scam, and variations of it. They say there are three things people need to keep in mind which should protect them from this fraud.

1. In the UK your bank - or their representative - will never come to your home. If someone claims to be from the bank, close the door and leave them outside. You need to report this to the police.

2. Your bank - and the police - will never come to collect your bank card. Again, if someone claims to be doing this, they are part of a criminal gang, so shut them outside and call the police.

3. Your bank and the police will never ask for your PIN. If you receive a call or an email claiming to be from either organisation and asking for this information, report it to Action Fraud, or on the non-emergency police number 101.