Fraud Online & On The Telephone

In 2021 alone, 3,625 people were victims of courier fraud, with loses totalling more than £15.2 million.

Typically, courier fraudsters target their victims by claiming to be a police officer or a member of staff from a victim’s bank. They often pressure people into making quick financial decisions to assist with fictitious investigations.  An analysis of data from the British National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has highlighted four modus operandi (MOs) which are now more commonly being used by fraudsters.

Four Common Methods Used By Courier Fraudsters

Bank card expiry: Fraudsters claim to be from the victim’s bank and say their card is no longer valid. They ask for the pin number and then send a “courier” to collect the card before using it for fraudulent purposes.

Purchasing high end items: The suspects pretend to be police officers and ask the victim to help with an undercover operation by purchasing expensive items like watches, jewellry and gold. Once the item is bought, the victim will hand over the item to the criminal.

Counterfeit cash/bank investigation: A person claiming to be a police or banking official informs the victim that they need to help with a banking corruption investigation. The victim is told to withdraw a large amount of money and the cash is picked up later by a courier to “check for fingerprints or to identify counterfeit bank notes”.

Computer takeover: The fraudster telephones the victim, purporting to be from their Internet Service Provider (ISP) saying that they have had an issue with their Internet connectivity and they are due compensation. 
The victim is persuaded to download a remote access application, giving the suspects access to their home computers. The fraudster persuades the victims into thinking that they have been paid too much compensation and the victims then withdraw cash to pay the money back, which is later collected by a courier.

Superintendent Edelle Michaels, from the Lead Force Operations Room at the City of London Police, said: 
“Fraudsters are callous individuals and courier fraud is no exception. They prey on some of the most vulnerable and most trustworthy members of society. 

Victims of courier fraud typically tend to be between the ages of 70 to 89 years old, with women more likely to be targeted than men.

“We would urge everyone who is involved in a caring or supportive role to people of these ages to start conversations about the tactics used and warning signs to look out for on courier fraud... Just having that conversation could be the difference on whether someone becomes a victim of this trust-eroding crime.”

Action Fraud:      Northants Police:    The Star:      N. Yorkshire Police:  

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