This message is dated Friday 6th May 2022 - The whole Area
Alert message sent 06/05/2022 11:18:00
Information sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police
This message was sent out by Surrey Police to all their Alert members.
They obviously have the same issue as us with regard to Courier Frauds.
It confirms JUST HOW widespread COURIER FRAUDS ARE !
FRAUD NEWSLETTER – COURIER FRAUD SPECIAL – MAY 2022
Each month, we see many incidents of fraudsters targeting residents in an attempt to defraud them. We’re working hard to prevent this and support vulnerable victims of fraud or scams. By following our tips and encouraging family, friends and colleagues to do so too, you can reduce the risk of becoming a victim.
This May, all police forces are working together on a national campaign to target criminals committing courier fraud, a crime which has continued to increase. This newsletter tells you what courier fraud is, how to spot the signs and what you can do, to prevent it.
What is courier and impersonator fraud ?
Courier or impersonator fraud, is where a fraudster calls a victim purporting to represent the police, or a bank. The scammer, asks the victim to assist the police in a covert fraud investigation. They ask the victim to withdraw their life savings in cash, or transfer any other balances to a ‘secure police account’ after disclosing their PIN. In some cases – we have had two in RBWM - victims have been persuaded to buy gold Rolex watches from large retailers, or even gold bars.
After persuading the victim to withdraw their savings in cash, fraudsters will send a 'courier' to the victims address, to collect cash or cards. Hence the name – Courier Frauds.
Scammers have various stories as to why they need the victims help. They may claim that the victim's bank is committing fraud, that they have arrested two young offenders using the victim’s debit card in a large shopping mall and they need to gather evidence with the help of the victim. They are very convincing and will discourage victims from speaking with anyone else – the police, their bank or even family members - about the situation as it is so secret. They also keep victims on the phone, using both landlines and mobiles, to prevent them calling anyone for advice.
57% of victims lived alone; the majority of victims were over the age of 75.
37% of victims were male, 63% of victims were female.
Protect yourself from courier fraud
· Act with care if you get an unsolicited call.
· The police or your bank, will never ask you to withdraw cash or hand over your bank cards to a courier.
· Never transfer funds into a new ‘secure police / bank account’ on the instruction of an unexpected caller - even if they tell you the account is in your name.
· Never share your PIN number, or enter your PIN number into a telephone.
· Never withdraw money or give your bank cards to anyone who comes to your door, no matter who they say they are.
Please pass this advice onto your loved ones, particularly those who are elderly or vulnerable.
A Case Study
An 85-year-old female from East Sussex was called by someone claiming to be from the police. The caller claimed to be 'DI Evans' from the 'fraud team'. The caller explained to the victim that they had arrested a suspect who was claiming to be the victim's niece. The victim was then passed to a different 'officer' who claimed the arrested female worked at a bank and the victims bank account was under suspicion of fraud.
The victim was asked to support the investigation by attending her local bank branch and withdrawing £5000, which was to be later collected by a 'courier' and 'analysed'.
The victim attended her local branch to make a withdrawal. Once in the branch, the victim indicated to staff that she was secretly on the phone to someone which raised suspicions. Staff at the bank refused the withdrawal and raised banking protocol. Thankfully, due to the quick actions of the bank, the victim did not suffer any loss and was safeguarded by the bank and genuine police officers who attended.
Spot the warning signs of courier fraud
· Have you had a phone call out of the blue by someone claiming to be from your bank or the police ?
· Did you receive a text message asking for your personal and/or banking information ?
· Are you being asked to withdraw or transfer funds to a 'safe account' due to an urgent investigation ?
· Has the caller suggested cash or bank cards be collected from your home address ?
· Have you been asked to post your bank cards or a sum of cash ?
How to check if a caller is genuine
· Stop ! If the caller has introduced themselves as someone who works for the police, wait five minutes and then call us on 101 to check their identity.
· Has the caller given their details ? Have they explained why they are calling you ?
· If in person, ask to see the persons warrant card.
· Always question and follow your gut instinct - never be afraid to ask an officer to show they are genuine. A genuine police officer will always provide their details and allow you time to check their identity with 101.
Have you been a victim of fraud?
If you or someone you know is vulnerable and has been a victim of fraud call:
TVP on 101 or visit https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/
Report fraud or attempted fraud, by contacting Action Fraud at http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or call 0300 123 2040.
Please consider using our online reporting system but please note this reporting tool is not for use where a crime happening right now, the suspect is still at the scene, or anyone seriously injured or in immediate danger.