Today (13 January) a national campaign, co-ordinated by the City of London Police, will focus on educating potential victims on the different ways criminals con vulnerable and elderly people out of their money.
Courier fraud often starts with a cold call where the fraudster claims to be a police officer or a bank official.
The fraudsters will say there’s an issue with the victim’s bank account or request their assistance with an ongoing bank or police investigation. The ultimate aim of this call is to trick the victim into handing over money or bank details.
Common techniques used by the fraudsters include telling the victim to withdraw large sums of cash, purchase an expensive item, or provide their bank cards/details. In all cases, a ‘courier’ will then come and pick up the cash or items, on behalf of the police or bank. They will come to the victim’s home address or arrange a location at which to meet them.
The victim is promised a reimbursement, but after the cash or items are taken, the contact ceases.
Courier fraud is typically committed by organised crime groups and targets the elderly and vulnerable, so we’re encouraging people to speak to their relatives and ensure they’re aware of the following advice:
- Neither police nor bank officials will ever ask you to withdraw money from your account, purchase anything or hand over your personal details or passwords.
- If you believe you are being targeted by a scammer hang up the phone and use a different phone line to call Action Fraud or the police, as scammers have a way to stay on the line and will pretend to be the police when you call back.
- If you don’t have access to a different phone line, wait for a period of time and try calling your family member or friend first to make sure the scammer is no longer on the line.
- Just because someone knows basic details about you like address or date of birth, it doesn’t mean they are genuine bank or police employees.
- Always question suspicious phone calls and report them to Action Fraud or the police.
If you think you or someone you know has been defrauded, you can report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.