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Advice Issued After Courier Fraud Incidents

Published on 23 October 2019 05:05 PM

Our Fraud PROTECT Officer Andy Foster has issued some guidance to the public about courier fraud, following a series of reported incidents across the force.

Courier fraud involves the victim receiving a phone call from a criminal purporting to be from the police or another organisation, often a bank.

In the most recent incidents reported to us this month, victims – many of whom are elderly or vulnerable – have been contacted by persons unknown claiming to be from either the Metropolitan Police or some kind of ‘fraud squad’.

The victims are told that there have been suspicious transactions within their accounts and their bank is investigating. Victims are asked to attend their local bank to withdraw cash, so police can check the money and move it into a ‘safe account’.

Victims are often also asked to provide their PIN numbers as part of a ‘security check’ on the phone.

After the money has been withdrawn, a ‘courier’ shows up at the victim’s home to collect the cash and the bank card. Because they already have the PIN number from the initial phone call, they can then use the card to make further withdrawals.

Andy said: “This type of fraud is happening across the country and it’s important we keep raising awareness of the deceitful methods used by criminals to target our elderly and vulnerable people.

“Another common tactic is for the criminals to pretend they’re calling from the victim’s bank. They can spoof a legitimate telephone number for the bank concerned, which makes it look like a genuine call.

“The caller has all of the victim’s information already, which again helps them convince the victim that the call is genuine, before asking them to transfer money into a safe account.

“There have been instances of courier fraud where, after withdrawing money from their bank, victims are asked to get the cash converted into a foreign currency.

“I’d ask everyone to be incredibly vigilant about calls of this nature – please share this information with your elderly and vulnerable friends, neighbours and families, so they’re aware too.

“A bank will never ask you to disclose your PIN number or other details on the phone – and the police certainly wouldn’t! If you’re ever in doubt about the authenticity of a caller, hang up and search online for a legitimate phone number to call the organisation back on. Do not call them back on any number they give you, as it may be part of the ruse. Wait a short time before calling back as well, as the criminals can sometimes stay on the line.

“If someone is claiming to be from the police, a legitimate officer won’t mind providing you with their collar number so you can hang up, call 101 and verify they are who they say they are.  

“This may seem like an extreme step, but it could protect you from being targeted by criminals and becoming the victim of fraud.”

More information about courier fraud can be found on the Action Fraud website