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Surrey Police warn residents about the risk of courier fraud


Residents in Surrey are being urged to remain vigilant as criminals continue to target vulnerable people through courier and impersonator fraud.

 

Courier or impersonator fraud is when a fraudster contacts someone claiming to be from a reputable organisation like a bank or the police, saying there has been some fraudulent activity on their account or card which needs resolving. Their objective is to obtain cash, bank cards and valuables from individuals. Some cases involve a courier, which is when someone comes to collect bank cards from the victim’s address.

 

So far this year, there have been 391 reports of this type of fraud made to Surrey Police in relation to vulnerable victims. Most of the victims have been women over the age of 75. Of the 391 reports, sadly 161 people have suffered a loss and the combined total loss this year equates to £3,518,284.

 

These fraudsters are very persuasive and use various tactics. Last month a 69-year-old woman from Reigate received a call from someone claiming to be a police officer from another force. The caller said they had arrested a fraudster using the victim’s bank card and gave the woman a number to call to verify they were genuine. The victim later received a second call, also from someone claiming to be from the force, and was instructed to transfer £9,000 into a bank account so that the fraudster could be caught trying to steal her money. Thankfully, when the victim attempted to transfer the money, her bank blocked the transaction due to the amount of money involved.

 

In another recent case an 85-year-old woman from Elmbridge received a call from a man claiming to be from a bank who said her bank card had been used fraudulently. The caller informed the victim she needed to dispose of her bank cards immediately by putting them in an envelope on the doorstep for a courier to collect. A courier later attended to collect the bank cards and the victim was called to say new cards would be posted to her. Sadly, as the victim grew suspicious of what had happened, she contacted the bank who explained she had been scammed and £600 had been taken from her account.

 

Financial Abuse Safeguarding officer for Surrey Police, Bernadette Lawrie, said: “Behind all of the clever tricks and ever-changing narratives, there are a few basic recurring elements that are common across many frauds, including courier fraud.

 

“It pays to stop and think anytime you receive a request for personal or financial information. Remember, if you feel uncomfortable or unsure about what you’re being asked to do, contact your bank or financial service provider directly, using a number you trust, such as the one listed on your bank statements or on the back of your card.

 

"Alternatively, check your actions with a trusted friend or family member.”

 

To protect yourself, consider the following key tips:

  • Avoid sharing personal information over the phone.
  • Never give out your PIN.
  • Always check your phone line has properly disconnected before making another call – try calling a friend first, wait five minutes, or use a different phone.
  • Do not transfer or withdraw money on the instruction of an unexpected caller.
  • Never give your bank card to a courier or someone you do not know and trust.
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    And always remember:

  • Your bank or the police will never ask for your PIN or bank card.
  • Your bank or the police will never send a courier to your home to collect your card, money, or other valuables.
  • The police will not ask you to withdraw money from your account or purchase other valuables.
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    Please pass this advice onto your loved ones, particularly those who are elderly or vulnerable.

     

    If you suspect, you or someone you know has been victim to a courier fraud you can:

    ·       Report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

    ·       Alternatively, if the victim is vulnerable or elderly, please call the police on 101.

    ·       In an emergency, always call 999

     

    For more information you can visit the Op Signature website page at https://www.surrey.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/wsi/watch-schemes-initiatives/os/operation-signature/


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    Message Sent By
    Laura Richards
    (Surrey Police, Communications Officer, Corporate Communications)

    Neighbourhood Alert Cyber Essentials