Police in South Yorkshire have issued a warning about criminals targeting victims over the phone claiming to be from their bank, the police or other law enforcement agencies.
Officers have seen a rise of this type of crime across the county as Andy Foster, Fraud PROTECT Officer with the South Yorkshire Police Financial Crime Unit explains.
“Courier fraud is when criminals telephone a potential victim, claiming to be from their bank, the police or other law enforcement agencies,” he said.
“Here in South Yorkshire we have seen a rise in this type of phone call with the offender claiming to be a police officer, usually from the Metropolitan Police or New Scotland Yard’s Fraud Team or from the victim’s bank.
“Excuses include saying there has been fraudulent or suspicious activity on your account, that they are investigating rogue banking staff who have accessed that account, or that they have arrested someone who has been using the victim’s details and card.
“The offender will ask the victim to go to their bank and withdraw substantial sums of money, and advising that if challenged by bank staff to make up an excuse, such as buying a new car or similar. They then inform the victim to take the cash home to ‘check’ the money and that a courier will arrive to collect the cash.
“They may also ask the victim to call back on ‘161’ or the number on the back of their bank cards to confirm the authenticity of the call, however, the criminals do not hang up the line and keep the call connected, therefore the victim is still speaking to the same person or an accomplice.”
Andy goes on to warn that a number of these calls have been made across South Yorkshire, with three victims alone in the Barnsley area.
“Unfortunately these three individuals and other victims in our area have all been elderly. Banks or the police will never ask anyone to withdraw cash or ask for security details so please be on your guard if you receive a call from ‘your bank’ or from some claiming to be from the ‘Police’.
“I would advise anyone receiving unsolicited calls via their home phone to contact their telephone provider and ask them if they provide a free call blocking service.
“Alternatively, call blocking devices and replacement telephones with call blocking software pre-installed are available to buy with built in call blocking technology.”
To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk
Read more about Courier Scams here: www.actionfraud.police.uk/a-z-of-fraud/courier-scam