Surrey Police warn of new scam where people impersonating officers

Two Metropolitan Police officers viewed from behind
Genuine calls from police or banks will never ask you for personal details -Credit:JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Surrey Police are warning residents about a resurgence of the so-called "courier fraud" scam in the area. which involves people impersonating officers.

Since January, there have been 23 reported cases across East Surrey of criminals impersonating Surrey police officers to defraud victims out of cash and valuables.

The scam works by someone telling the victim that someone has been fraudulently using their bank card. The ‘police’ will then ask for financial help to arrest the suspects.

Another variation is where the scammer contacts you and says your bank account has been taken over and you need to transfer all the funds into a ‘safe account’. However, the new account is controlled by a criminal gang who will steal your money.

Detective Sergeant Alison Sturrock of the Economic Crime Unit explained: “Courier Fraud is recognised as a high harm fraud type due to several factors. The crime predominantly targets an elderly, vulnerable demographic, victims tending to be aged between 70 and 89 and many living alone and suffering age-related illness.

"Courier fraud is a contact offence, meaning the victim is more commonly met by a courier who collects their cash, bank cards, I.D, and other valuables.

“We know that anyone can be a victim of fraud, and because of that we recommend that people always check the authenticity of email details and phone numbers. This can normally be done via a quick google search.”

In nine of the recent cases, victims were successfully defrauded out of money after withdrawing funds and giving them to someone claiming to be a police courier. Detective Sturrock warned that victims "may even be transported many miles to purchase high value items, either in a taxi, or by members of the Organised crime group (OCG).".

Surrey Police urged the public to be vigilant against such impersonation scams. They reminded residents that genuine calls from police or banks will never ask for personal details like PINs, passwords or authorization codes. The force advised never being rushed into any actions, checking legitimacy with someone trusted, and ending suspicious calls.

Victims of courier fraud should immediately report it to the authorities, such as report online via Action Fraud’s website here. Surrey Police also referred the public advice and materials on identifying scams here.

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