Police are warning people not to fall victim to a type of fraud where criminals specifically look to target vulnerable victims.
So-called ‘Courier Fraud’ is where the offender or offenders target often elderly people, calling them up and pretending to be someone in a position of authority (usually a police officer).
They then tell the unsuspecting victim that there has been a fraud on their account but that the bank is in involved and not to involve them. They urge the victim not to contact the bank but instead to hand over cash to rectify the problem.
A courier is sent to collect the money.
DC Heather Shearer is part of The Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Disruption Team which covers the three Yorkshire Forces (West, South and North) and Humberside.
DC Shearer has a recorded a short video about the crime and how to prevent it which will be shared across various social media platforms in the hope of preventing more victims having money taken from them.
“This is a despicable crime which targets vulnerable people. It can have a terrible impact on victims – they can become withdrawn and embarrassed because of it.
“We are doing what we can to bring offenders to justice – and in September eight people were jailed for a total of over 30 years, but prevention is better than the cure.
“Education and knowledge are vital in making life so much more difficult for these criminals and I would ask anyone who knows potentially vulnerable people to watch the video and then pass on the messages within it.”
Extra advice includes:
A police officer will NEVER ask you for cash or your bank details.
If you are approached and are in anyway unsure then either visit a police station or call your local force on 101. If the caller is a genuine police officer then they will have no problem waiting for you to carry out these simple checks.
If they do have a problem or try and rush you into doing something then it is likely they are involved in a scam.
Take some time to think when approached. Fraudsters will usually try and use time pressure to force you into a quick decision but people alerting you to a genuine crime will not have a problem taking your time.
Think – do you bank with one particular bank but the person on the phone is talking about a different one? Even if they have the right bank it doesn’t mean it is legitimate.
DC Shearer added:
“Throughout the region we support a national scheme called the Banking Protocol which helps bank staff to identify possible fraudulent activity and then alert police as it is happening.
“The protocol has so far helped stop over a £million worth of fraud in West Yorkshire alone (and £37m nationally).”