Surrey Police has seen a rise in courier frauds over the last month.
So-called because the perpetrators send someone to the victim’s house to collect money or bank cards, the fraud begins with a phone call in which someone posing as a police officer says they need the victim to hand over money or bank cards as part of an investigation.
In June we saw a rise in the number of these frauds, with 33 reports. The oldest victim was 96 years old and the total losses recorded were £64,790, an average of just under £2,000 per case.
Bernadette Lawrie BEM, Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer for Surrey Police says: “This is a heartless crime perpetrated by criminals who are specifically targeting elderly people across the county. Being a victim of fraud can have a huge and lasting impact on the most vulnerable members of our community. Imagine if you thought you were doing the right thing by helping the police but were in fact being conned in your own home, often by an organised criminal gang.
“Operation Signature is our response to fraud and provides preventative measures to protect identified victims from further targeting. Vulnerable victims are visited by a uniformed officer and advice and support is provided to stop them falling victim to fraud again. We also provide call-blockers to those most in need."
Our top tips to avoid becoming a victim of courier fraud are:
- Never send or give money to anyone you don't know or trust
- Check people are who they say they are, by calling the organisation to verify, ideally on a different line from the one you have been called on
- Don't share your personal information
- Make decisions in your own time
- If in doubt phone a relative or a friend
- Do not trust anyone who cold calls you about your bank account
Bernadette Lawrie adds: “I can’t emphasise enough that we, as the police, and your bank, will never ask you for your PIN or full banking password. We will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer money out of your account, or arrange for anyone to collect bank cards or money from your home address.”
All fraud should be reported to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or by reporting online at www.actionfraud.police.uk. If you or someone you know is vulnerable and is being targeted by fraudsters, please report this to Surrey Police online at www.surrey.police.uk or by calling 101.
In an emergency or when a crime is in progress always call 999.