Havering’s vulnerable hit hard in ‘courier fraud’

07:00 13 August 2014

Couriers may unknowingly be part of the scam. Picture: PA/Niall Carson

Couriers may unknowingly be part of the scam. Picture: PA/Niall Carson

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Havering is one of the hardest hit London boroughs for “courier fraud” where fraudsters imitate police officers or bank staff to steal elderly and vulnerable victim’s bank cards.

Nearly 50 people in Havering have fallen victim this year to the scammers who spend a vast amount of time defrauding their elderly and vulnerable victims because the pay-off is so “immense”, according to a police chief who is this month raising awareness of the crime.

The conmen imitate people in authority telephoning their victims before encouraging them to hand over their credit or debit cards to a courier or a taxi driver who may be unaware of their involvement in the crime.

To further manipulate the victims, the scammer asks them to ring the number on the back of their cards only to keep the phone line open. The victim then talks to another member of the gang posing as a bank employee.

Acting Det Ch Insp Gary Miles of a specialist crime squad said: “Much has been done in the last year to tackle courier fraud, but scammers are always looking for new ways of defrauding the elderly and vulnerable, and the crime continues to evolve.

“It is vital that people stay vigilant. Courier fraudsters put a huge amount of time and effort into being convincing because the pay-off is immense.

“This is a massive part of what makes them so successful. We want people to question even truly genuine sounding calls and, most importantly, remember police and banks will never ask for your Pin or bank card, so you should never give these away.”

Officers are advising that:

-Police and banks will never ask for your Pin code or bank card and you should never hand these over

-If you are contact by someone requesting them, hang up

-Then use a different line to call police on 101 or 999 if the crime is in action

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