Northamptonshire Police issue warning following courier fraud incident
Main article content
Officers at Northamptonshire Police are encouraging people to make their elderly relatives or vulnerable members of the community aware of courier fraud following an incident this week.
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.
The latest incident occurred in the south of the county and was reported to the Force today (Thursday, January 26), after the elderly victims realised that they had been scammed into handing over a large sum of money.
Fraudsters tend to target a specific area over a short period, which has prompted officers from the Force’s Economic Crime Unit to raise awareness of this incident. They would like to hear from anyone who may have been approached in a similar manner recently.
Detective Sergeant Liz Dobson of the 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.