POLICE have warned residents to be on their guard for a new scam following a series of incidents targeting vulnerable people.
Courier fraud sees a criminal cold call someone pretending to be from a bank or specialist police squad, saying there have been suspicious account transactions.
Victims are asked to withdraw cash and give their PIN number so the money can be moved to a “safe account” and a bogus courier calls round.
Fraud protection officer Andy Foster (pictured), based at Rotherham’s Lifewise Centre, said: “It’s important we keep raising awareness of deceitful methods used by criminals to target our elderly and vulnerable people.
“Another common tactic is for the criminals to pretend they’re calling from the victim’s bank. They can spoof a legitimate telephone number for the bank concerned, which makes it look like a genuine call.
“There have been instances of courier fraud where, after withdrawing money from their bank, victims are asked to get the cash converted into a foreign currency.”
He added: “I’d ask everyone to be incredibly vigilant about calls of this nature. Please share this information with your elderly and vulnerable friends, neighbours and families, so they’re aware too.
“A bank will never ask you to disclose your PIN number or other details on the phone, and the police certainly wouldn’t.”
The advice to anyone in doubt about a caller is to hang up and search online for a genuine number on which to call back the organisation. Wait a short time before calling back, as criminals can sometimes stay on the line.
Mr Foster said: “A legitimate officer won’t mind providing you with their collar number so you can hang up, call 101 and verify they are who they say they are.
“This may seem like an extreme step, but it could protect you from being targeted by criminals and becoming the victim of fraud.”