Surrey residents warned about increase in courier fraud
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Police are warning residents to be vigilant after a rise in cases of courier fraud in Surrey, especially among elderly and vulnerable victims.
Since the start of May there have been 18 reports made to Surrey Police of courier or impersonator fraud. Nearly all the victims were female, and the majority were aged over 75. Of these 18 reports, 11 victims unfortunately suffered a loss, to the combined total of £45,068.
Fraudsters often claim to be part of a ‘fraud team’ trying to prevent the victim from being scammed. In one case, they convinced the victim to download software that gave them remote access to her computer, and persuaded her to tell them her date of birth and bank sort code.
Common scenarios also include callers pretending to be from reputable organisations. One victim received a call from a man claiming to be PC Holbrook from Hammersmith Police Station. He told her that she needed to withdraw a large sum of money. The victim withdrew some cash from her first bank, but refused to do so from the second. The caller told her that she was jeopardising the investigation, then asked if she was going home and said that someone from the forensics team would come to collect the money. The victim said that she didn’t know him and wouldn’t give him the money, and the caller hung up.
The police are not the only organisation who have been used as a front for fraudulent activity. One victim received a call from a caller pretending to be from the Royal Mail. They claimed to have a parcel for her, and got her to fill in a form on what she believed to be a genuine Royal Mail website. They then phoned her pretending to be from the bank, told her money was being taken out of her account fraudulently and that they had created a new account for her. They convinced her to move her money into this account, which was in a man’s name, and claimed that this alias was required due to banking protocol issues.
Local officers have responded to the reports mentioned here and provided support to victims.
To protect yourself or someone you know from becoming a victim of fraud, consider the following key tips:
- Your bank or the police will never ask you for money or to verify personal details such as your PIN code over the phone
- Never share your PIN number, sort code or account number, or enter any of them onto a telephone keypad
- A genuine police officer will not be offended if you ask them to confirm their identity
- Never transfer funds into a new account on the instruction of an unexpected caller – even if they tell you the account is in your name
- Your bank and credit cards are yours – do not let a stranger take them from you, including any couriers who might come to your door. You should only ever have to hand your card over at the bank. If your card is cancelled, destroy it yourself
- Fraudsters might suggest you hang up and phone the police or the bank to confirm that they are genuine. However, they may stay on the line when you hang up, so when you dial the real phone number, you’re still speaking to the same fraudster. Try calling a good friend first, wait five minutes or use a different phone
Please pass this advice onto your loved ones, particularly those who are elderly or vulnerable.
If you or someone you know is vulnerable and has been a victim of fraud please call:
Surrey Police on 101 or visit http://www.surrey.police.uk/
To report fraud or attempted fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or report to them online: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
In an emergency, always call 999.
You can read more about door-to-door scams and courier fraud here: https://www.surrey.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/personal-fraud/door-to-door-courier-fraud/