Postal workers 'being paid thousands to steal bank cards'

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Postal workers are being paid to steal bank cards, according to an investigation by the BBC.

Fraudsters have been tempting Royal Mail staff in online advertisements, with some offering £1,000 a week to intercept letters containing cards and PINs, the investigation for Inside Out West Midlands reported. 

More than 11,000 people had their bank cards stolen in transit last year, costing card issuers £12.5m, according to UK Finance. 

Royal Mail would not disclose how many workers had been convicted but told the BBC “the theft of mail is very rare”.

A BBC journalist went undercover by posing as a postman and responding to an advert offering £1,000 a week to intercept letters. 

He met with a gang member in Lewisham, who told him: “We’re going to tell you, for example, that Ms *****, she’s going to have a letter from NatWest,” reported the BBC.

“Any letters from NatWest for Ms *****, intercept. As simple as that.

“If you open up a new account you’re going to get your card and you’re going to get your PIN, right? Two letters, that’s all it is.

“We do that, you intercept the letters, bring them back to us, you get paid.”

The findings were the result of a BBC investigation for Inside Out West Midlands (Dave Thompson, PA)

One gang in Birmingham has been operating for 30 years, according to the unidentified gang member who said the leader has “been in the game for 30 years”.

“He’s worked with a number of postmen,” the BBC quoted him as saying.

“I’ve worked with two. One was in the Midlands – Coventry – and one was on the outskirts of London, Romford area.

“But my guy, he lives in Birmingham and I obviously do the work, he sorts out the other side.”

West Midlands Police said its economic and fraud teams are not aware of the BBC’s findings and it has not had any reports of this type of fraud.

When the BBC journalist confronted his contact, he ran away. 

Royal Mail would not disclose how many of its workers had been prosecuted for mail theft since it was privatised in 2013. Before then, figures show 1,759 Royal Mail workers were convicted of theft between 2007 and 2011.

UK Finance told the BBC it works closely with Royal Mail to target these types of gangs.

“We do have our own police unit and they target organised criminality,” Katy Worobec, head of fraud detection at UK Finance said.

There were 11,377 cases of bank cards gone missing in the post last year (Alamy)

“They try and get the people who are actually organising the criminality behind the scene.

“Once you’ve taken that part of the gang out, the thing falls apart.”

The Royal Mail also told the BBC: “We take all instances of fraud – alleged or actual – very seriously.

“Our security team is reviewing the programme’s findings as a matter of urgency and will continue our close and on-going cooperation with the relevant law enforcement agency.

“The overwhelming majority of postmen and women do all they can to protect the mail and deliver it safely. The safety and security of mail is of the utmost importance to Royal Mail.

“We deliver millions of items safely every day and the theft of mail is rare. The business operates a zero tolerance approach to any dishonesty. We prosecute anyone we believe has committed a crime.”

The Standard has approached Royal Mail for further comment.

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