South Yorkshire Police is warning people to be aware of courier fraudsters operating in our force area after a victim almost handed over thousands of pounds to a criminal.
The victim, in Sheffield, was targeted by fraudsters yesterday (12 February) and nearly lost more than £11,000.
The suspects led the victim to believe they were from New Scotland Yard and attended three banks to withdraw separate amounts of money.
The suspects used a false story to get past the security checks but officers quickly intervened. The victim is now being safeguarded.
Courier fraud involves victims receiving a phone call from a criminal pretending to be from the police or another official organisation such as a bank.
The fraudster claims there is an issue with the victim's bank account, or requests the victim's help in an ongoing bank or police investigation.
Victims - many of whom are elderly or vulnerable - are then asked to withdraw a large sum of money which will be collected by a courier for 'evidence'. Other versions of the scam have previously seen victims told to withdraw large amounts of foreign currency, or purchase high value items such as watches.
DS Sam Erabadda, from the force's fraud co-ordination team, said: "Victims of courier fraud tend to be elderly or vulnerable and it can be very distressing for them to realise that someone has exploited their goodwill in this way.
"Following today’s incident, I'd ask everybody to be extremely suspicious of unsolicited phone calls from your bank or the police - and don't think it is authentic simply because the person on the other end of the phone knows basic personal details about you such as your name or address.
"If you think you are on the phone to a fraudster, hang up the phone straightaway and then call back your bank, or the police, on a different phone line or mobile, on a trusted number. If you can't use a different phone, wait at least 30 minutes before calling in case the fraudster has stayed on the line.
“Please make sure you share this information with your elderly or vulnerable loved ones.”
Reports of courier fraud should be made to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at www.actionfraud.police.uk. If somebody has turned up at your home to collect money, a bank card or other valuables from you, call 999.
Find out more about how to stay safe from courier fraud here: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/beatthecourierfraudsters
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