CREDIT card fraud affecting auction houses and dealers is on the increase all over the country, say the police.
Detective Constable Amanda Carver of
Wiltshire police, who first became aware of the scale of the
problem after a series of frauds two years ago, now has regular
contact from businesses affected and constantly works with officers
in other areas to tackle the problem.
"I am concerned that there is a lot
more going on at the moment," she said, "not as much as 2010 when
they were going virtually every day to auction houses and sometimes
twice a day, but it is a very, very similar method of
Four people who were due to appear at
Swindon Crown Court on April 20 charged with fraud over those 2010
offences will now appear this month.
But DC Carver said such credit card
frauds - affecting 'card not present' transactions - are still
coming to her attention all the time, including from March this
year. Many of them seem to be originating from the London area and
target gold, silver and jewellery.
"These are coming to light due to the
charge-back letters coming through from the credit card companies
after the legitimate user has realised the fraudulent use of their
cards," she added.
"Invariably the name and address given
will match that shown for voters and the phone number given will be
answered. It would appear that jewellery is again their goal. The
names and addresses vary each time but the modus operandi is common
"The ones I've dealt with are very,
very organised to the extent of creating false identities for
themselves and gaining access to houses that were empty at the
time, for sale."
She reiterated her message that
auction houses and dealers need to be aware of the
"I would urge the antiques trade, both
retail and auction, to only accept payment by credit/debit card if
the buyer is known to them, or if not known to only release the
goods once the card used for payment is presented and the pin
number used through the PDQ/Streamline machine to confirm
"This way the business will be
safeguarded if the transaction is unlawful.
"From my extensive investigation the
cards themselves are not with the 'buyer' when the details are
given over the phone, and where businesses have insisted on the
above procedure the goods have not been collected, which tends to
confirm the 'buyer' is unable to produce the card."
She said that another scam involves
'buyers' saying that cash will be deposited straight into the
business account of the seller. This transfer can show instantly,
but until it has fully cleared it can easily be clawed back by the
'buyer' once the goods have been released.
DC Carver also warned that caution is
needed even if goods are to be collected by a reputable
"These have been used on many
occasions to add a feeling of security to the selling business. The
courier has then been contacted by phone and met by the 'buyer' at
a differing location from that given to the auction house - often
the courier company is also the victim of fraud."
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