Nottinghamshire Police warn the public about scams after victims lose thousands of pounds
Scammers posing as police officers and bank officials have tricked residents into handing over thousands of pounds – after spending hours duping them over the phone.
People are encouraged to speak to vulnerable relatives and neighbours about courier fraud following a spate of incidents in recent weeks, including one case where an elderly Mansfield woman lost nearly £10,000.
Courier fraud comes in many forms and usually involves fraudsters telephoning a potential victim, claiming to be from their bank, the police, or another law enforcement authority.
The most common forms of courier fraud are:
Detective Sergeant Tara Clapperton, of Nottinghamshire Police’s Fraud Protect and Prevent team, said courier fraud causes severe harm to victims and so urged people to be vigilant against scams.
She said: “These fraudsters can be very persuasive and use a variety of tactics to convince you to withdraw cash, transfer money or hand over bank cards.
"We've had one case recently where a fraudster targeted a 77-year-old lady in a phone call that lasted for four hours.
“This shows just how devious these fraudsters are becoming and we are seeing an increasing number of victims who have been emotionally manipulated to lower their defences.
“It is really important people remain vigilant against these cold-hearted crimes. Bank accounts can be emptied in minutes and life savings lost.
“This places enormous stress on families and ruins people’s lives.
“Victims are typically elderly, as in these cases, and we are asking anyone with an elderly relative, loved one, friend or associate to please make them aware of this type of scam.”
DS Clapperton said people can mitigate the risk of becoming a victim of courier fraud by remembering some straightforward advice:
“The police and banks will never call you out of the blue and ask you to withdraw money or transfer any funds.
“Likewise, the police will also never ask you to take part in an investigation.
“If the person on the phone asks you not to tell anyone about what they’re saying to you, this is another sign that you are being scammed and you should tell a trusted family member or friend.
“If in any doubt, hang up and contact the police or your bank yourself. The police can be contacted by calling 101 and your bank can be contacted using the phone number on the back of your bank card.”
People should also be aware that:
• Police officers, banks and other organisations such as HMRC will never call people in this way and ask you to withdraw money or disclose personal or financial information. If someone does do this, please hang up – it will be a scam.
• If someone calls claiming to be a police officer, ask for their ID number and police force. Wait at least five minutes before verifying details with the appropriate Force by calling 101 – do not use any number they provide unless you can confirm it as genuine. Ensure the call has disconnected as scammers will often leave the line open or use another phone altogether. A genuine police officer will not mind waiting while you check their identity (it’s a sign that it is a scam if the person becomes pushy or stresses urgency).
• Take a step back from everything and take a few moments to think. Speak to a trusted friend or relative for their opinion before agreeing to anything. The fraudster’s tactic is often to keep the victim busy talking and isolated. They stress that they should not tell anyone else about the call.
• Your bank or the police will never send a courier to your home to collect cash, bank cards, PINs or other valuable goods.
• If you are a friend, relative or carer of someone you think might be vulnerable to this type of scam, please speak to them about this advice. You might be the only person who can stop them from being scammed.
You can make yourself aware of this type of scam and how to protect yourself by visiting the Action Fraud website (https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/) or by calling them on 0300 123 2040.
The police have also created a fraud prevention booklet; a useful resource that provides details of specific scam and fraud types – along with crime prevention advice.
It can be found below:
If you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, report it by calling 101.
If a crime is in progress, dial 999.