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Weekly update from West Mercia Police - Economic Crime Unit - 17/05/2022


            This week we are sharing with you the national campaign about

                                                           COURIER FRAUD

Protect your loved ones from callous criminals as new tactics used by courier fraudsters unveiled

Typically, courier fraudsters target their victims by claiming to be a police officer or a member of staff from a victim’s bank and they often pressure people into making quick financial decisions to assist with fictitious investigations. In 2021 alone, 3,625 people were victims of courier fraud, with losses totalling more than £15.2 million. 

Four common tactics used by courier fraudsters

  • Bank card expiry: Fraudsters claim to be from the victim’s bank and say their card is no longer valid. They ask for the PIN number and then send a “courier” to collect the card before using it for fraudulent purposes. 
  • Purchasing high end items: The suspects pretend to be police officers and ask the victim to help with an undercover operation by purchasing expensive items like watches, jewellery and gold. Once the item is bought, the victim will hand over the item to the criminal.
  • Counterfeit cash/bank investigation: A person claiming to be a police or banking official informs the victim that they need to help with a banking corruption investigation. The victim is told to withdraw a large amount of money and the cash is picked up later by a courier to “check for fingerprints or to identify counterfeit bank notes”.
  • Computer takeover: The fraudster telephones the victim, purporting to be from their internet service provider, saying that they have had an issue with their internet connectivity and they are due compensation. The victim is persuaded to download a remote access application, giving the suspects access to their home computers. The fraudster persuades the victims into thinking that they have been paid too much compensation and the victims then withdraw cash to pay the money back, which is later collected by a courier.
  • “Fraudsters are callous individuals and courier fraud is no exception. They prey on some of the most vulnerable and most trustworthy members of society. Victims of courier fraud typically tend to be between the ages of 70 to 89 years old, with women more likely to be targeted than men. 

    Superintendent Edelle Michaels, of City of London Police stated:  “We would urge everyone who is involved in a caring or supportive role to people of these ages to start conversations about the tactics used and warning signs to look out for on courier fraud. Just having that conversation could be the difference on whether someone becomes a victim of this trust-eroding crime.” 

    Signs of Courier Fraud

    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 watch and gold bullion, withdraws cash or provides a bank card for collection from a courier.
  • Fraudsters will instruct victims not 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 make arrangements for a courier meet the victim to collect the item they have purchased.
  • Anyone who receives an unexpected call from someone claiming to be one of these officials should verify they are speaking to someone genuine: hang up, wait five minutes and call back on a number they know is genuine.

    Data from the NFIB shows that women between 70 to 89 years old lost more than £6.7 million to courier fraud in 2021. Men in the same age range lost almost £4.2 million during the same period. 

    A number of support services have been created to help combat nuisance calls, including the trueCall system. The device acts like a home receptionist and lets calls from friends and family straight through, but unrecognised callers are required to identify themselves before the call is put through and unwelcome callers are blocked. The Telephone Preference Service also offers a free of charge service to discourage unsolicited phone calls.

    Take Five To Stop Fraud advice

    Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

    Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

    Protect: If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

        For further information visit:

        https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ 

         https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/

     

     

     

     

     


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    Michael Barbour
    (Police, PSV, Economic Crime Unit – Fraud Protect’ )

    Neighbourhood Alert Cyber Essentials