Two men have been given suspended prison sentences for their involvement in a scam which led to people in Leamington and Warwick handing over their bank cards following a telephone call from a bogus police officer.
Bogdan Herciu, 29, and Adrian Bucioaca, 30 - both of Durants Road, Enfield, Middlesex, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal bank cards between July 22 and July 25, 2014, when they appeared at Warwick Crown Court on November 3.
Last Friday they were each sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 24 months and 150 hours’ unpaid work.
On 25th of July, 2014, three residents of Leamington and Warwick were contacted by telephone by a caller falsely claiming to be a DCI from police stations within the London area, informing them that a person had been arrested for using their bank card details.
Those who received the calls were asked to telephone their bank, which two did, and enter their PIN numbers into the key pad.
Unbeknown to them, the line had been kept open by the bogus officer and they were actually speaking to a member of a criminal gang, purporting to be customer services.
Arrangements were then made for a ‘courier’ to collect the bank cards which were said to be required as evidence by the bogus officer.
After the cards were collected they were used at local ATM machines to withdraw cash from the two victims.
The caller also attempted to dupe a further three people who were not taken in by the scam.
On July 25 another victim, a woman in her 60s from Warwick, made arrangements for the ‘courier’ to collect her cards.
However, as she was suspicious, she also contacted police.
Officers arrested both Herciu and Bucioaca when they attended her address and she did not lose any money.
Police recovered from their vehicle four bank cards, identified to two victims in Warwick, and £1,400 in cash.
Further enquiries identified an additional offence that occurred in Winchester on July 23, 2014.
The total monetary value of cash taken during these offences was £1,900.
PSI Tony Smith said: “I would like to praise the victim who called the police in this case. The actions that she took resulted in these two men being caught and they are now facing the consequences of their actions.
“I would urge people to be aware of this type of incident and to make sure their friends and family also know about it. Banks and police officers will never ask for people’s PINs or bank cards and people should never give their PIN or bank card to anyone.
“If you are contacted by someone who asks for these, hang up. Use a different line to report the call to police on 101 or allow at least five minutes for the line to automatically clear. Call 999 if the crime is actually taking place.”
Police are working with Ofcom, the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit, Trading Standards and high street banks to tackle courier fraud.