Warning as 19 bogus police officer fraud reports made in one month
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Detectives are urging people to never give out financial details if they are cold-called by people claiming to be from the police or other official bodies.
Courier fraud happens when a victim receives an unsolicited call from someone pretending to be from an official body, claiming there has been an issue with their bank account which requires them to transfer money, or provide financial information, hand over bank cards, cash, or buy gifts.
The criminal will sometimes suggest the victim rings their bank or the police in order to authenticate the call. However the fraudster does not disconnect the line, so when the victim re-dials they are still speaking to one of the criminals. In some cases, a courier is also sent to the victim’s home to collect bank cards or documents.
During November, Northamptonshire Police received 19 reports of people posing as police to attempt courier fraud across the county, mainly in Kettering in Wellingborough, compared to seven in October and three in September, where criminals also claimed to be from HMRC.
Detective Sergeant Stephen Puddifoot, of the economic crime unit, said: “The people carrying out this kind of scam are clever and manipulative, leaving victims feeling panicked, vulnerable and frightened that their savings are at risk.
“Those targeted recently range in age from 60 to 95, with some victims losing thousands of pounds as a result – some have been asked to withdraw as much as £15,000 at once.
“It’s really important for people to know that police officers will never contact you out of the blue and ask for any financial details, bank cards or cash, nor would they send someone to take you to withdraw cash, buy gift cards or to collect bank cards or information.
“We’re encouraging everyone to help us spread the word about this kind of scam so we can prevent any more people in our county falling victim to it. Please tell friends and relatives that if they receive a call like this they should never give any information out, however plausible the caller may seem.”
He added: “If you’re ever in any doubt that you’ve been contacted by the police, call us on 101 to check the identity of the person who called you – a genuine police officer will never mind you making sure they are who they say they are.”
Report any suspicious calls or attempted frauds to Northamptonshire Police on 101.
Advice for avoiding courier fraud
- Remember that neither the police or a bank will ever ask for your PIN or arrange collection of your bank card
- Your bank and the police will never ask you to make high value purchases, gift cards or to withdraw cash to send for examination
- Your bank, the police or any genuine organisation will never contact you and ask for your online banking log in details, including a one-time password, or to move money to another account
- If you receive one of these calls, end it immediately and contact the police and your bank via a different phone line, using a number you know is genuine. If you do not have another phone line you can use, hang up and wait five minutes until the line has fully cleared