What is courier fraud?

All you need to know. There are common elements to each case of courier fraud. A fraudster contacts victims by telephone claiming to be a police officer or bank official. They may have some basic and easily obtainable personal details about their victim to substantiate their claim.

The caller may offer a telephone number for their victim to telephone or ask the victim to call the number on the back of their bank card to check they are legitimate. In these circumstances, either the number offered will not be genuine, or where a genuine number is suggested, the fraudster will stay on the line and pass the victim to an accomplice. After some trust has been established, the fraudster will then, for example, suggest:

Staff at a local bank branch, jewellers or currency exchange are under investigation for a crime

Suspects have been arrested but the ‘police’ need bank notes for evidenceVictims are asked to co-operate in the investigation by going to their bank and withdrawing money or purchasing an expensive item to hand over. A ‘courier’ is either sent to their home to collect the money, bank card or goods, or the victim is asked to meet the courier somewhere. The victim is often given a code word, again to convince them this is all legitimate.

In the space of just a few hours, the victim will have handed over a significant amount of money or their bank card, which it is unlikely they’ll see again.

Bill’s story: “I thought I was wise to scams”

Bill*,73, lives on his own in Cranleigh, Surrey. He has a good family unit, is fit and well and enjoys the company of his dog.

In September, Bill received a call on his landline from a man saying he was a police officer from the Hammersmith Police Station fraud squad. The man told Bill an elaborate story about money laundering taking place in the Cranleigh and Guildford areas.

The caller claimed Bill had not yet been a victim but that his help was needed to catch the suspects, who were supposedly bank employees.

He was very convincing and provided a phone number to check his authenticity.Bill was keen to assist the police, and agreed to go to his local Cranleigh bank branch and withdraw £4520.

Bill set off to the bank, all the while with the fraudster connected on his mobile phone to collect evidence. He found the Cranleigh branch to be closed, but the fraudster persuaded Bill to drive to the Godalming branch instead, as it was important to obtain evidence that day.When he arrived at the Godalming branch, he was only able to withdraw £2000, as they were low on cash, but he returned home with this, and as instructed put it in an envelope. The fraudster told Bill that his money was needed as evidence so arrests could be made. A courier then arrived, gave Bill a pre-agreed code, and took the money. The fraudster told Bill that he now needed to go to the Guildford branch to withdraw the remaining £2520. When Bill arrived outside the Guildford branch, he called them back on the number they’d given him for Hammersmith police station, the number was dead and Bill realised he’d been scammed.

Keep your money safe.

You can do your bit courier fraud by checking on elderly friends, relatives and neighbours, and making sure they know our golden rules.

The police and your bank will never

Phone and ask you for your full PIN or full banking password

Ask you to transfer money out of your account

Send someone to your home to collect money, bank cards or cheque books

We know that many people who have been taken in by fraudsters blame themselves and don’t report it to the police. Our message to is that it isn’t your fault and please do report it.

Officers will be sympathetic and understanding, and can advise about measures to ensure you do not become a repeat victim.

Reporting also really helps us build up a picture of the people perpetrating this crime and gives a greater chance of catching them. The police and your bank will never ask you for your full PIN or full banking password