Police urge public to stay alert against courier fraud this Christmas

POLICE are urging members of the public to stay alert against courier fraud during the festive period after a South Yorkshire resident lost thousands of pounds after falling victim.

In the scams, criminals pose as authority figures, including police officers and bank officials, to gain the trust of their victims.

They employ various tactics to manipulate victims, often initiating contact via email, text message or phone calls.

The scams can also involve tricking people into surrendering bank cards, PIN number and mobile phones, or other sensitive information, such as answers to security questions.

Andy Foster, fraud protect officer from South Yorkshire Police Fraud Team, said: “Courier fraud is a national threat that devastates the lives of victims.

“These criminals specifically target older people, resulting in the loss of life-changing amounts of money.

“The impact on the victim’s health and wellbeing can be catastrophic.”

“Once trust is established, the fraudsters weave convincing narratives, falsely claiming fraudulent activity on the victims' bank accounts.

“They employ high-pressure tactics to create a sense of urgency and force victims to comply with their demands.

“One prevalent tactic involves convincing victims to withdraw substantial sums of money from their bank accounts and place it in envelopes or bags.

“The fraudsters then dispatch ‘police couriers’ to collect the cash from the victims' homes.

“Most recently a South Yorkshire resident was persuaded to hand over their bank cards, PIN numbers and mobile.

“As a result, thousands of pounds was taken from the victim’s bank account.

“The offenders also managed to take out a bank loan in the victim’s name using their mobile phone.”

Fraud victims should report it to Action Fraud, either online via www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Added Andy: “If you’ve given your bank details over the phone or handed your card to a courier, call your bank immediately and ask them to cancel your cards and put a block onto your account.”