Pensioners likely to be targets for 'particularly nasty crime' as £6,700 warning issued

More than £28.7 million was lost to courier fraud in the last year - with pensioners most likely to be victims of the 'particularly nasty crime'. Callous fraudsters tended to pick on those in their 80s, according to data from Action Fraud.

Scammers contacted people out of the blue, purporting to be police officers, or bank officials, to dupe them into handing over money, valuables or bank cards, which were collected from their home address, often by couriers.

City of London Police recently led an operation, working with forces across England and Wales, to intensify activity and jointly crack down on fraudsters who prey upon elderly people. Detective Sergeant Victoria O’Keefe said: "This is a particularly nasty crime type often resulting in significant psychological harm and financial loss to victims, many of whom are living alone and suffering age-related illness."

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She continued: "Many elderly people rely on their landline phone to stay connected to the outside world and for peace of mind, we would recommend protecting loved ones from fraudulent calls by getting a call blocking device fitted. If you hear that your friend or loved one is being contacted out of the blue by the police or the bank and asked to withdraw money, handover bank cards or make purchases, report it to the police immediately."

In the West Mercia Police area, which covers Shropshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire, there were 35 reports of courier fraud in the last year, totalling to £233,659 - nearly £6,700 each on average. Police also purchased 100 trueCall blocker devices, which were offered to victims across the country during the two-week crackdown.

Call blockers filter unwanted scam and nuisance calls and stop them from getting through to the person’s landline. Reports of fraud should also be made to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.