Surrey Police warn local residents about courier fraud as victims suffer £10million losses so far this year
Police are warning residents to be vigilant after a rise in courier fraud in Surrey, especially among vulnerable victims.
The warning comes as a new national social media campaign is launched by Action Fraud with victims nationwide reporting a total loss of over £10 million so far this year.
Since the start of the year, there have been 322 reports made to Surrey Police about courier fraud. Most of the victims have been women over the age of 75.
Courier fraud is when a fraudster contacts the victim over the phone and pretends to be either a police officer or bank official. The fraudster may seem especially convincing as they are sometimes able to confirm basic personal details like the full name or address of the victim.
Of the 322 reports made to Surrey Police this year, 123 victims unfortunately suffered an average loss of £10,319. The staggering combined loss of all of the victims was £1,210,000.
The majority of victims had their bank cards used or collected, used bank transfer or handed over cash sums to the fraudsters.
One victim aged 86, received a call on her landline from a person telling her that they were a police officer from Hammersmith Police. She was instructed to withdraw £4,800 but fortunately when she attended her bank to do this, the bank staff recognised the signs of fraud and no loss was incurred.
Another victim, 70, received a call from someone claiming to be a detective with Hammersmith Police who was investigating her card being cloned in a store on Regents Street, London. Fortunately the victim thought that this did not add up and did not hand over any personal details to the fraudster.
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 call:
- Surrey Police on 101 or visit www.surrey.police.uk
- Report fraud or attempted fraud, by contacting Action fraud at;
http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or call 0300 123 2040.