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Doorstep scam or fraud
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JaneD


Posts: 29
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #1
07-06-2008 10:57 PM

A young man came to my door last week saying that the post office had accidentally taken my address, which is similar to his, and were about to deliver a parcel to my flat. He hung around until the postman appeared and collected the parcel, so I didn't get to see what it was. The next day I received a letter addressed to an unknown person and, feeling rather suspicious about the parcel, I opened it. It showed that someone had opened a bank account at my address. Looks like some kind of fraud, though I'm not sure exactly what. Has anyone had a similar experience, or any ideas what might be going on?
Jane

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Johnc


Posts: 138
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #2
08-06-2008 07:44 AM

I would get on to the bank in question and the police straight away. This could be setting your address up with some kind of credit history for a bigger fraud further down the line.

How do he know that a parcel was going to your address.

I would also contact the Post Office. No postman should give something address to your flat to anybody without ringing the doorbell first.

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JaneD


Posts: 29
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #3
08-06-2008 10:51 AM

Thanks John.

I'll talk to the post office.

I did contact the bank and they immediately cancelled the bogus account, which a relief, but I wonder if he has set up accounts with other banks as well.

I reported it to the police but they said that as I hadn't actually lost any money they couldn't do anything.

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billham


Posts: 115
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #4
08-06-2008 11:23 AM

Hi Jane

Sorry to hear about your problem. I sincerely hope it is not too serious for you - it sounds like they used your address to order the parcel. Hopefully it is only your address they have used (bad enough)and not your name too.

I really wanted to comment on the attitude of the police. Whatever happened to preventative policing? Possibly the nature of this crime (because it IS a crime) makes it difficult for them. I was brought up to be law abiding and pro-police, but my experiences with them recently seem to be negative ones, and you get the feeling that unless you have actually been attacked or murdered they won't respond.

In a recent minor vandalism incident on our property here, no police ever turned up. I did however get 3 phone calls from civilian administrators taking details including my religious beliefs and ethnic background!! Ever feel like a statistic??? It wasn't Al Queda caused the damage and there was no 'race' aspect since the kids who did it covered the spectrum in that respect and were all equally culpable!

For me, small crimes lead to big ones and some people will just keep pushing things further because frankly they haven't been brought up in a way that tells them when to stop. If the police reinforce that belief through inaction then things are headed downhill.

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JaneD


Posts: 29
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #5
08-06-2008 08:40 PM

Hi Bill

Thanks for your response. I feel a bit depressed about the attitude of the police as well. Vandalism and setting up bank accounts at other peoples' addresses must be crimes, surely.

I guess the police are overstretched and it is hard to investigate every incident that is reported, but it would help if they could at least offer advice based on their experience of similar crimes. In my case, I would have liked to know where this incident was likely to lead and whether where is some central way of checking whether this guy was setting up other bogus accounts and credit cards at my address. They did give me some advice that would apply if he was using my name, but I don't think he is.

I'll post to the Forum again if anything else happens.

I would really like to hear from anyone else locally with a similar experience... I've just found someone in Sheffield so far.

Jane

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SEdweller


Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2007
Post: #6
08-06-2008 10:16 PM

On another scam going around. I had a knock on the door a few month's ago and it was a woman who said she had just moved into the houses behind us (new ones so sounded likely) and she had two small children but her husband was at work and the electricity meter had run out so could I lend her ?20 until her husband came in when she would pay me back. I did not like to think of her children being in the dark (it was then) so I gave her the money. Needless to say the last I heard of her or the money. When i went to check at the house they said they had also been scammed along with a few other neighbours - just one to watch out for. I felt a bit foolish when I realised I had been had but my heart was in the right place!!

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JaneD


Posts: 29
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #7
08-06-2008 10:37 PM

Thanks for the warning SEdweller.
Awful how easy it is to be taken in by someone who sounds fairly plausible. Especially when they look worried, I've found!

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Applespider


Posts: 283
Joined: Feb 2006
Post: #8
09-06-2008 09:41 AM

And next time someone does genuinely need help, you'll probably be less likely to help in case of another scam.

That's the worse thing about chancers - they make it more unlikely that those who genuinely need help will get it.

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blushingsnail


Posts: 364
Joined: Dec 2005
Post: #9
09-06-2008 10:47 AM

Jane: have you considered getting a credit report for yourself? It will tell you what (if any) credit arrangements you have (eg credit cards) and you can check that no one has used your identity to get credit. It doesn't sound like these people are using your name, but for peace of mind I'd get a report if I were you.

It only costs ?2 and you can get it from Experian or Equifax.

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Ghis


Posts: 321
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #10
09-06-2008 12:33 PM

You need two proofs of address and a photo ID to be able to open a bank account. Which bank was the bank account opened with? This is very strange that they let someone open a bank account without these documents.

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JaneD


Posts: 29
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #11
09-06-2008 06:54 PM

I don't quite understand the bank account business. The Halifax bank account was opened online and a letter arrived here on Saturday with a password and user details, so maybe he hadn't got as far as presenting ID.

I have a nasty feeling that the parcel addressed here may be acting as a form of ID, as I think it must have been a mobile phone with contract details at this address. Today I got a T-Mobile phone bill for ?150 addressed to this phantom person, which I think was set up against that bank account, though T-Mobile wouldn't confirm this for security reasons!

Just opened another envelope from Hallifax re another bank account under a different name.

If only I had been more suspicious of the 'parcel sent to the wrong address' story...

I've followed up the credit report, and nothing untoward -yet. Thanks, BlushingSnail.

Jane

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calvin


Posts: 62
Joined: Feb 2006
Post: #12
09-06-2008 07:46 PM

Hi Jane

We are in a similar situation. We received post with just our address on it recently, and upon opening it saw it was an invoice for a large purchase. It had been paid by someone whose name we didn't recognise as a past inhabitant of our house.

Anyway, we called the company today and they confirmed that the package was delivered to our address to this person whose credit card (Lloyd's) is also registered to our address. I don't know how this happened, as we didn't take delivery, so this guy must have hung around on the appointed day & convinced the delivery people to give him the package??? I can't even manage to get a genuine delivery to arrive on time, so this must be one committed individual.

Anyway, my husband is going to Lloyd's tomorrrow to try to figure this out - if you work out what's going on, please let me know, either here or by PM. Good luck!

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JaneD


Posts: 29
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #13
09-06-2008 07:55 PM

Oh dear. Sounds like a very similar fraud but maybe without the parcel somehow???

Trying to sort it out seems to be a nightmare. So far our experience is:

Police say they have deligated investigation to the banks so won't take any action.

Bank (Halifax) are willing to close the bogus accounts but will take no other action.

T-Mobile closed the phone account and said they will investigate it when they have time, but they are inundated with these requests. They were as helpful as they could be.

Good luck at Lloyds! Would really appreciate hearing any further developments, and I'll post mine. I hope there won't be much more to it, but fear there will!

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Sherwood


Posts: 1,355
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #14
09-06-2008 08:57 PM

The banks simply pass the cost of fraud onto their customers. So no worries for them.

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JaneD


Posts: 29
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #15
17-06-2008 08:25 PM

Thanks to everyone who commented on this.

Looks as if the scam works like this for the perpetrator:

- Choose an address not too near home
- Start the process of opening an online bank account at that address. This will give a valid bank account number
- Use the bank account number to set up a direct debit mobile phone contract. The free handset will be delivered to the address of choice using next-day delivery
- (the difficult bit) either explain to the person who lives at the chosen address that the parcel will being delivered in error and ask them to sign for it, or hang around and intercept the courrier
- Get as much use as possible out of the mobile until the whole thing folds up, which happens quite soon. The phone company notices heavy usage and closes the contract, or a phone bill or a letter about the new bank account arrives at the chosen address and causes suspicion. Banks and mobile phone companies know about this kind of activity and are happy to close accounts immediately.
- When the phone is made unusable, sell it on.

It hasn't been much fun being on the other end of one of these scams, but I'm thankful it is nothing worse. Or maybe it is something worse but I haven't found out yet!!

Jane

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Sherwood


Posts: 1,355
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #16
17-06-2008 10:18 PM

The person may well have enough documentation with your address on it to open another bank account.

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JaneD


Posts: 29
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #17
18-06-2008 10:52 AM

Yes. As far as I know, all the banks write a letter to confirm that the account is being opened, so I should be able to close it at once. Unless he finds a way of getting hold of my post again...

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Sherwood


Posts: 1,355
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #18
18-06-2008 10:58 AM

A stick with blutack on the end is sometimes used to extract a letter.

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SophieBee


Posts: 46
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #19
18-06-2008 11:31 AM

I really recommend using the credit report services as blushingsnail said a few posts ago. I decided to get one of the credit watch reports about a year ago and it's been really useful. You pay a monthly fee and are notified as soon as there are any changes to your details, such as a new account being opened or credit searches on your name/address. If you are worried about the possibility of your details being used to open a false account, this would alert you immediately.

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JaneD


Posts: 29
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #20
18-06-2008 11:37 AM

Thanks Sophie. I have signed up for one of these agencies and so far it has been fine.

This guy apparently isn't using my name, just the address. I wish there was some way of centrally notifying banks etc that no one apart from me and my partner should be setting up accounts here, but there doesn't seem to be a way.

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