Northamptonshire Police issue warning following fresh spate of courier fraud incidents
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Officers at Northamptonshire Police are again encouraging members of the public to make their elderly relatives aware of courier fraud following fresh reports in the county.
Courier fraud involves fraudsters telephoning a potential victim, claiming to be from their bank, the police, or another law enforcement authority, and tricking them into revealing their PIN number, bank card and personal details.
Since the beginning of May, there have been at least seven reports of courier fraud across the county, in which fraudsters pretending to be police officers have called elderly residents.
In all incidents, the vulnerable victim has been informed they need to withdraw a large sum of money to enable the police force to investigate an alleged corruption within their bank or building society.
They are then told to get a taxi to their bank or building society and the fraudsters will even suggest a plausible reason for why they are withdrawing such a large amount of money, if the victim is challenged.
Once the money has been withdrawn, the fraudsters will sometimes arrive at the house and take the money, promising to reimburse them once their ‘investigation’ has been completed.
Detective Inspector Tania Ash of Northamptonshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit said: “The criminals carrying out these scams are exceptionally clever and know how to manipulate their victims by making them feel panicked and rushed into actions they will later regret.
“We would urge everyone who is involved in a caring or supportive role for an elderly loved one to start conversations about the tactics used and warning signs to look out for.
“Just having that conversation, especially if their loved one is not particularly tech savvy, could be the difference on whether someone becomes a victim of this trust-eroding crime.
“Under no circumstances would the police or banks ask you to withdraw money from your account, or transfer funds into another account for fraud reasons, nor would they ever ask you to become part of an undercover investigation
“Our advice is that if you receive any call where you are asked to provide personal or financial information, is to take a few moments to reflect on the situation and stay calm. Never assume a phone call is genuine, even if the caller knows basic details about you, such as your name and address.
“You should also know that criminals can make any telephone number appear on your phone handset, so even if the number shown seems authentic, never trust this.
“If you receive a phone call of this type, have the confidence to end it. A genuine organisation will never mind you taking the time to think things over or to contact them back on a number you have verified, for example from your bank statement or payment card.
“If the caller is claiming to be a police officer, the relevant force can be contacted on 101 and will be able to verify if a caller is a genuine officer or member of staff.”
Signs of courier fraud are:
• Courier fraud usually starts with an unsolicited telephone call to the victim
• Typically, the suspect will pose as a bank official, police officer or a computer or utility engineer
• Courier fraudsters will usually request the victim purchases high value items such as Rolex watches and gold bullion, withdraws cash or provides a bank card for collection from a courier
• Fraudsters will instruct victims not to tell any family or friends about what they are doing
• When carrying out courier fraud, criminals will request the victim hangs up the phone to ring their bank for confirmation while keeping the line open. The suspect then purports to be bank official and provides false confirmation
• Fraudsters will also plan for a courier to meet the victim to collect the item they have purchased.
If you think you have been a victim of fraud you should report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or online by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.
It’s also important to report all fraud-related incidents to Action Fraud to help build a national picture and help prevent others falling victim to scams.