UK government security arm Action Fraud issued the warning saying it was aware of a series of letters currently in circulation that are claiming to be from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB).
The letter, which is being sent out anonymously by post, is addressed to victims of fraud offering them the opportunity to have their money returned.
It suggests that fraud losses can be returned, but requests that personal details are sent to a South African bank.
To appear credible, the missive uses the NFIB branding and the name of the City of London Police’s Commissioner, Ian Dyson.
Dubbed ‘fraud recovery fraud’, the new trick attempts to gather more personal details from defrauded members of the public.
Officers believe it is likely that the letters are sent out randomly, so recipients will include previous victims.
This is because specific information relating fraud victims is hard to obtain, as any report of fraud is protected by law and can’t be shared with anyone else outside of law enforcement agencies.
The City of London Police, which is the UK’s national policing lead for fraud, said that individuals should challenge any letter of this kind that they received from people they did not know or companies they had never contacted.
The public is encouraged to do so by clarifying any letters directly with the relevant organisation.
“This fraudulent letter is clearly not something that the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau would send to the public. It takes advantage of people’s trust in order to steal money from those who have already fallen victim,” detective chief inspector Andy Fyfe, of the City of London Police, said.
“If you are unsure about a letter you have received from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, please contact Action Fraud directly before giving away any of your personal details.”
The warning comes shortly after UK anti-fraud organisation Cifas said that identity theft had reached “epidemic levels”.
A total of 89,000 cases were recorded in the first six months of the year – a 5% rise on the same period last year and a new record high.