The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has issued a warning to beware fraudsters posing as couriers asking for your signature at your front door.
It says your signature is often the missing piece needed by scammers in order to commit identity theft.
The NFIB has unearthed this con via its Proactive Intelligence Team, which quizzes convicted offenders to discover how they work to defraud victims.
The team found that signatures are particularly valuable to thieves looking to empty your bank account or even steal your identity.
How it’s done
One convicted fraudster recently interviewed by the Proactive Intelligence team revealed how easy it is to fool people into handing over their signature.
He said: “If we want to get someone’s signature it’s really easy. All we do is put on a fluorescent coat or vest, knock on the door and ask the person to sign for a letter or a flyer. They don’t need signing for, but nobody ever questions why and we don’t hang around for a chat!”
After this vital piece of the puzzle is obtained it helps scammers carry out theft and fraud with ease.
The convicted fraudster explained: “Once we have the signature we can make changes on their bank accounts and authorise fraudulent money transfers.”
How to protect yourself
If you're not expecting a delivery you should be suspicious of anyone that turns up asking you to sign for something. Ask the courier what you are signing for and look for official identification.
If you do decide to sign for the unexpected item, just print your name rather than giving your official signature that you use for your banking and finance.
Criminals are able to commit different types of fraud depending on the type of personal information they manage to steal. So make sure you are careful with your details.
The ‘Not With My Name’ campaign revealed one in four in the UK has been a victim of identity crime losing an average of £1,200.
You can report fraud and get a police crime reference number by calling Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.