Beware courier tricksters

Published on: 01 Sep 2014

ELDERLY people in the Downend area are being warned to be on the alert for fraudsters trying to dupe them out of large sums of money.

Dozens of incidents of so-called courier fraud – in which people trick you into handing over cash or cards and PIN numbers on your doorstep - have taken place in the South West in recent months, with most of the victims aged 61 or over. One resident in Avon & Somerset was cheated out of £34,000.

Across the country, it is believed there have been at least 300 cases involving £1 million.

Three men, all aged 18 and from London, were arrested last month on suspicion of fraud offences in a swoop by Zephyr, the south west regional organised crime unit, following a three-month investigation.

Detective Chief Inspector Will White said: “We hope this sends a strong message that we will target those who prey on the elderly and vulnerable. We will find out who you are and come for you.”

The investigation is continuing. DCI White said: “It is possible that some victims may feel too embarrassed, ashamed or humiliated to come forward and report that they have been duped.

“We would like to hear from these people, so that support and advice can be provided.

“We need people to spread the word. If you have elderly and vulnerable relatives, neighbours, and friends warn them to be vigilant for telephone calls of this kind.”

The scam has a number of variations but police said the key things to remember are:

Your bank will never send a courier to your home

Your bank and the police will never collect your bank card

Your bank and the police will never ask for your PIN

If you receive one of these calls end it immediately

DCI White added: “In recent incidents the victims did the right thing when they became suspicious of callers. They hung up the phone and called the police. They waited until they could hear a dialling tone or used a different phone to call us, ensuring that the scammers weren’t still connected to the line.

“We are also appealing to taxi owners to be vigilant, especially if asked to courier small packages to London for elderly people,” said DCI White.

You can find out more about courier fraud and how to protect yourself from it on the Action Fraud website.

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