Posted: Sat 1st Jun 2024

More than £28.7 million lost to courier fraudsters in the last year, with pensioners most likely target

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Pensioners are being urged to be vigilant after data revealed that more than £28.7 million was lost to courier fraud in the last year.

Victims of courier fraud lost an average of £20,032 last year, with 43% of the victims aged in their 80s, according to Action Fraud data.

The concerning trend has prompted a warning from the City of London Police, who reported over 100 referrals about courier fraud from 26 police forces across England and Wales during a two-week period in May.

During this period, more than £290,000 was lost to these scams, with one victim alone losing £56,000.

Courier fraud typically involves scammers impersonating authorities, such as the police or banks, to deceive victims into handing over money, valuables, or bank cards, which are then collected by couriers.

It often begins with a cold call where the scammer fabricates a story to prompt the victim to act.

Common tactics include claiming a fraudulent payment on the victim’s card or stating that someone has been arrested using their details, thus needing the victim’s assistance in an investigation.

Victims are usually instructed to visit their bank to withdraw money, obtain foreign currency from an exchange, or purchase high-value items for the scammers.

They may also be asked to hand over their bank card. In some sophisticated cases, the scammers might ask the victim to call the number on the back of their card to verify their identity.

However, the fraudsters keep the phone line open, redirecting the call back to themselves, thereby maintaining the deception.

In light of these incidents, the police have arrested five suspects, and investigations are ongoing.

Avoiding and Reporting Courier Fraud

To avoid falling victim to courier fraud, it’s crucial to remember that banks and the police will never ask you to purchase expensive items or hand over money to them. Here are some preventative measures and reporting tips:

  • Register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS): This service will stop legitimate companies from making unsolicited sales and marketing calls to your phone number. Any sales calls received after registration can be considered suspicious.
  • Install a call blocker: These devices can help filter out nuisance calls, although they may not stop all fraudulent calls.
  • Use a different phone to verify calls: If you receive a suspicious call, use another phone to call the company back on a trusted number. Wait at least 15 minutes after hanging up to ensure the scammers cannot keep your phone line open.
  • Call 159: If a call claims to be from your bank, dial 159 from a different phone to connect to your bank’s genuine customer service line.
  • Report scam calls: On iPhones, text ‘call’ followed by the scam number to 7726. On Android phones, text ‘call’ to 7726 and follow the prompts. For WhatsApp, block and report the contact directly through the app.
  • Report suspicious landline calls: Contact Action Fraud to report these incidents.

If you have been scammed, contact your bank immediately using the number on the back of your bank card and report the incident to Action Fraud or the police by calling 101

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