Warnings over ‘courier fraud’ conmen in Hampshire who pretend to be police and persuade people to withdraw cash – to be collected later

PEOPLE are being warned not to fall victim to fraudsters who are pretending to be police and law enforcement agents who are calling people up.

Wednesday, 13th February 2019, 4:10 pm
Updated Monday, 18th February 2019, 10:14 am

Hampshire County Council Trading Standards says there has been an increase in ‘courier frauds’ recently across the county.

This is where criminals have been seeking to persuade people to withdraw money from the bank – often in large amounts – which is later collected by an ‘agent’ of the scammer.

Those ringing up pretend they are helping with police investigations against the bank, including claims the bank is dealing in counterfeit money, is committing fraud – all with the aim of convincing the person their money is in danger.

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Scammers are going to considerable lengths to convince people to part with their money.

Trading Standards stated in its scam alert: ‘Some reports state that the scammers have accompanied their victim to the bank by keeping the line to a mobile phone open.

‘The victim is asked to place the phone on the counter when withdrawing the money. The scammer can then hear what security questions are being asked and may use that intelligence on future victims.

‘Once the money has been withdrawn from the bank, the scammer will arrange for the evidence to be collected. This could be at the victim’s home or another location, sometimes that location requires a bus or taxi ride.

‘The victim will be given a code word and told that the agent will give this code word when they come to check the evidence. Sometimes paperwork is given in exchange for the evidence, sometimes it is just taken.

‘Often the victim gets swept up in the excitement of thinking they are helping the police and lose sight of reality. It is likely that once the victim has followed instructions and parted with money, that they will be targeted again.’

Similar methods are used to persuade victims to buy iTunes/Amazon vouchers, or to withdraw Euros.

Every police or community support officer has a unique collar number which residents are advised to check should they become concerned.

People are also being advised not to use telephone numbers given by the caller to make checks as they will be false, or the line may be kept open. People should make independent enquiries using a different telephone and a number sourced by the resident.

Anyone who witnesses any suspicious activity should call the police on 101 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Trading Standards can also be contacted via Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.