Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
5:58 PM 12th May 2022

What Is Courier Fraud? We Find Out!

Criminals typically carry out courier fraud by cold calling the victim, purporting to be a police officer or bank official to gain their trust. The fraudsters will then claim there’s an issue with the victim’s bank account or request their assistance with an ongoing bank or police investigation.

The ultimate aim of this call is to trick them into handing over money or their bank details.

North Yorkshire Police are warning residents to be extra vigilant after a number of reports have been received in the past month where the victim has been called on the telephone by someone claiming to be an officer from the Metropolitan Police in London.

The victim is informed that someone has attempted to use their card to purchase a laptop or similar and as a result their bank account is under threat. The victim is instructed to attend their bank and withdraw all their money in order for a police officer to attend their home address (the courier) who will take their money for ‘safe keeping’.

The victim may be further convinced the call is genuine as the fraudsters will tell the victim to call 999 to check they are genuine but do not clear the line so the victim who thinks they have dialled 999 and speaking to the police when in reality they are in fact still speaking to the fraudsters.

The victim is told to attend the bank and withdraw their money. The victim is told they may be challenged at the bank as to why they are withdrawing their money and they are told what to say, for example paying for building work, buying a car etc. The fraudster will claim the bank are involved and there is an undercover police operation in the bank and to say anything will compromise the police operation.

The victim is made to think that their cooperation is needed for this police operation. Often the victim will be called by the fraudster prior to attending the bank and be told to keep their phone on whilst they are in the bank. The victim withdraws their money, often tens of thousands of pounds which they take home. The fraudster posing as a police officer will attend the home and take the money often using a password agreed between the fraudster and the victim.

The victim may also be persuaded to hand over their bank cards to the 'courier' or even asked to purchase expensive watches in order to assist the bogus police investigation.

All information provided by Andy Fox, who is the Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer at North Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit