Tuesday 23 July 2024
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Nottingham

Urgent warning after several cases of courier fraud in Nottinghamshire

Nottinghamshire Police is issuing an urgent warning about the continuing problem of courier fraud, where fraudsters hoodwink victims by pretending to be from the police before sending someone to collect cash or high-value items.

Since 1 January, the force has received 20 reports of the problem, with some of the targeted victims losing thousands of pounds.

Courier frauds are mainly committed by organised crime groups (OCGs) and a member of the OCG, known as the ‘victim communicator’, makes a phone call to vulnerable potential victims, persuading them that they are police officers.

The victims are asked to withdraw money from their bank, purchase an expensive item and/or provide their bank details or card to assist with an operation.

Money, items, or documents are then handed over to the ‘courier’, who attends the victim’s address or meets them nearby, on the promise that the money or item will be returned, or compensation will be provided.

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Sadly, no compensation is provided, and the money will not be returned.

In Nottinghamshire, people have been contacted by a man purporting to be a police officer from either Cheshire Police or The Metropolitan Police.

The bogus caller tells the person a bank card in their name has been found in the possession of a relative, who has been arrested.

They also tell the person counterfeit money was found on the relative, which has led to suspicions the person’s bank is issuing counterfeit notes.

The person is then persuaded to withdraw cash from their bank so that a ‘police officer’ can come to their address and collect it, as part of the supposed police investigation.

To verify what they are being told is true, the person receiving the phone call is advised to hang up and ring 191. However, that number is also not genuine and puts the caller through to another fraudster who is part of the scam.

Dale Richardson, fraud protection officer for Nottinghamshire Police, appealed for the public to be on their guard against the scam.

“We have seen a very high increase in this type of fraud over the last week,” she said.

“In many of the cases, no losses were reported but some victims have lost approximately £20,000 in total.

“Our message is simple: the police will never call to and ask you to withdraw money from your bank account, nor would we ever use a courier.

“We’re also advising people that 191 is not a telephone number associated with any emergency service, so please do not call this number.

“If someone claiming to be a police officer asks you to call 191, they are a fraudster.

“Our advice is to hang up the call, wait 10 minutes so that the line can clear or use another phone and call Nottinghamshire Police on 101.

“If you do attend the bank, advise them on what it is you have been asked to do – even if the person who called you told you not to.”

Some signs of courier fraud:

  • Courier fraud usually starts with an unsolicited telephone call to the victim.
  • Typically the suspect will pose as a bank official, police officer or computer or utility engineer.
  • Courier fraudsters will usually request the victim purchases high-value items such as a Rolex watch and gold bullion, withdraws cash or provides a bank card for collection from a courier.
  • Fraudsters will instruct victims not to tell any family or friends about what they are doing.
  • When carrying out courier fraud, criminals will request the victim hangs up the phone to ring their bank for confirmation while keeping the line open. The suspect then purports to be a bank official and provides false confirmation.
  • Fraudsters will also make arrangements for a courier to meet the victim to collect the item they have purchased.

A number of services exist to help combat nuisance calls, including the trueCall system which lets calls from friends and family straight through, but which asks unrecognised callers to identify themselves, and blocks unwelcome callers. Anyone interested in obtaining a trueCall system should call Nottinghamshire Police on 101 and ask to speak to Dale Richardson.

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