The scam that's left over 100 Cheshire victims more than £2m out of pocket this year

Cheshire Police are urging residents to be vigilant against courier fraud -Credit:Lauren Hurley/PA Wire
Cheshire Police are urging residents to be vigilant against courier fraud -Credit:Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

Police are urging Cheshire residents to be vigilant against 'courier fraud'. Since the beginning of 2024, there have been over 100 reports to Cheshire Police relating to this type of crime - resulting in a reported loss of over £2m.

Courier frauds involve someone making a phone call to a potential victim, usually someone who is vulnerable or elderly. They persuade them that they are an official person, typically a police officer or someone from their bank.

The victims are asked to withdraw money from their bank, purchase expensive items and gold bullion, or provide their bank details or card. Police say people who commit courier fraud can be incredibly persuasive and come up with a variety of different reasons why they need their victim to carry out these tasks.

They will often ask the victim to hang up and dial 999 to confirm the identify of the officer, however, the call is still active and the fraudster then pretends to be the police operator. Victims will be convinced to hand their money, items, or documents over to a ‘courier’, who attends the victim’s address or meets them nearby to collect, often with a promise that the money or item will be returned, or compensation will be provided.

Sadly, it was all a lie, leaving victims - in some cases - out of pocket of thousands, even millions of pounds. DC Joe Duckworth from Cheshire Police’s economic crime unit said: "Those who commit courier fraud can be very convincing, but there are a number of ways to prevent fraud, and I would advise you to become familiar with these tips.

"Please share them with any elderly or vulnerable family members or friends to ensure they don’t become victim and always remember the police or the bank will never call you to ask you to withdraw large sums of money or confirm your personal details or security pin."

Here are some safety tips to help prevent courier fraud:

  • Never provide personal or financial information to someone you don't know or trust, especially over the phone.

  • If you receive a suspicious call, hang up immediately and report it to Action Fraud via their website.

  • If you receive a suspicious text, ignore it, block the number and forward it on to 7726. This enables your provider to investigate the origins of it.

  • A police officer will always respect you wishing to confirm their identify. Never feel embarrassed to contact 101 from a different number to confirm they are genuine.

  • Contact your bank directly using a known and trusted phone number to verify any requests for money or sensitive information.

  • Never withdraw large sums of money based on instructions from someone claiming to be from the police or a bank. Your bank or the police will NEVER ask you to withdraw money to assist an investigation.

  • If you think you have been a victim of courier fraud, contact the police immediately on 101 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

  • Remember, genuine organisations will never cold call you asking for this information. If you're ever in doubt, hang up and contact the organisation directly using a known and trusted phone number from their website.

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