Lincolnshire Police are investigating reports of courier fraud in the Lincoln, Grantham and Gainsborough areas where all victims sadly lost a sum of cash.
We have blogged about the perils of courier fraud on this site many times before (see Further Reading), including a blog back in May when police forces united for a national campaign to highlight the crime.
Numerous forces are once again warning people to look out for the signs, as the offence seems to be on the increase. Indeed, just recently, two men - one from Derbyshire - were charged for courier fraud offences.
The problem appears to be widespread, and in Lincolnshire, on Tuesday, October 25, an offense was reported from a village just outside of Lincoln, where a woman in her 70s received a call from fraudsters purporting to be police officers from Stamford. The victim was advised someone had been arrested and they needed her help to progress their investigations.
The victim was instructed to withdraw cash and then told to read aloud the bank note numbers over the phone. A courier was sent to the victim’s house at approximately 5pm to collect the cash.
On October 21, in the Grantham area, Lincolnshire Police received a report that a man in his 60s was contacted by a fraudster claiming to be a DC Brian 5062 from Hammersmith Police. The fraudster called from a withheld number.
The victim was told his credit card has been fraudulently used in the London area and they needed him to withdraw money that could be used to trace the person’s movements.
On the same day in Gainsborough, a woman in her 80s was called and visited by a fraudster who claimed to be a Superintendent Holland 632 from Leicestershire Police. The fraudster alleged someone has been taking money out of the victim’s account and believed that some notes were fraudulent.
This fraudulent activity is typical of courier fraudsters. They will often claim to be a police officer and deceive their victims by getting them to believe they can help with an investigation.
Lincolnshire Police are urging members of the public to share this information with their friends, family members and neighbours so they can prevent more people from becoming a victim of courier fraud. It’s a sentiment we echo here at the EMCRC.
So, what is courier fraud?
Courier fraud happens when criminals cold call victims purporting to be a police officer or bank official, convincing them to hand over their cash, bank cards or any other high-value items to a courier that’s been sent to their home.
Fraudsters will often suggest some money has been removed from the victim’s account and that the staff from their local bank are being investigated. They may also suggest that an individual known to the victim has been arrested, but the “police officers” need money for evidence.
Another tactic being used by criminals is to instruct the unsuspecting victim to purchase high-value items such as jewellery or gold. If you receive a call like this, hang up immediately.
Stay safe from courier fraud
Your bank or the police will never ask you for your PIN, bank card, or any other financial details. They will also never ask you to withdraw money or to buy items on their behalf to be picked up by a courier.
There are call blocking services available that can help screen out unwanted calls. If you receive an unexpected call, hang up and use another phone to call back and confirm the identity on a number you can verify yourself, not one given by the caller. Ask yourself, “how do I know they are who they say they are?”.
If you think you have been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately. You can also report this to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online.
Report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Forward suspicious emails to email@example.com. Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).