Published: 21 January 2020
We are urging members of the public to be aware of instances of courier fraud targeting elderly people.
Figures from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) show instances of courier fraud across the country are on the rise and affecting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
Throughout the rest of this month police forces across the country are focussing on raising awareness of the different types of courier fraud to protect those most likely to fall victim.
Courier fraud is when criminals cold call a victim, typically claiming to be a police officer or bank official. Offences are often committed by organised crime groups who target the elderly and vulnerable.
Examples of specific instances have been where following a phone call, the fraudsters then claim there is an issue with the victim’s bank account or request their assistance with an ongoing bank or police investigation. The ultimate aim of the call being to lure them into handing over money or their 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 or 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 often come to the victim’s home address.
There were 233 reports of courier fraud in the eastern region in 2019 (up until 24 December) with total losses of more than £620,000.
We are urging people to remain aware that phone scams are operating across the region. As it does tend to be the elderly and vulnerable who are targeted by the offenders, please share the following advice with neighbours and relatives.
Your bank or the police will never call you to ask you to verify your personal details or PIN by phone or offer to pick up your card by courier. Hang up if you get a call like this.
If you need to call your bank back to check, wait five minutes as fraudsters may stay on the line after you hang up. Alternatively, use a different line altogether to call your bank.
Your debit or credit card is yours – don’t let a stranger take it off you. You should only ever have to hand it over at your bank. If it’s cancelled, you should destroy it yourself.
If you are suspicious about a telephone conversation you should end the call and contact police via the non-emergency number, 101. Ideally use a mobile phone or a friend's phone or wait at least five minutes before calling to ensure you aren't reconnected to the offender.
To report an incident in action or if you are in immediate danger always call 999.
Please also remember that your bank and the police would:
- Never ask for your bank account details or PIN over the phone
- Never ask you to withdraw money and send it to them
- Never ask you to send them your bank cards or any other personal property