The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, in collaboration with the South Wales Police Economic Crime Unit has identified a number of reports from the public concerning courier fraud in the South Wales Police area and surrounding regions.
Fraudsters are contacting victims by telephone and purporting to be a police officer or bank official. To substantiate this claim, the caller might be able to confirm some easily obtainable basic details about the victim such as full names and address. They may also offer a telephone number for the victim to call to check that they are genuine; this number is not genuine and simply redirects to the fraudster who pretends to be a different person. After trust has been established, the fraudster will then, for example, suggest:
- Some money has been removed from a victim’s bank account and staff at their local bank branch are responsible.
- A relative has been arrested and they require money for bail/assistance.
- Suspects have already been arrested but the “police” need money for evidence.
Victims are then asked to cooperate in an investigation by attending their bank and withdrawing money to hand over to a courier for examination who will also be a fraudster. The fraudster may also ask the victim to withdraw money via a different method such as changing an amount into currency via a bureau de change. The victim will then be given a safe word which will be repeated by the courier for further reassurance at the point of handover.
At the time of handover, unsuspecting victims are promised the money will be reimbursed but in reality there is no further contact and the money is never seen again.
• Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic. Just because they know basic details doesn’t mean they are genuine. Criminals will try and trick you by saying you have been a victim of fraud.
• Requests to move money. A police officer or bank official will never ask you to withdraw money, buy items, or hand over your PIN or password, as evidence. They will never send a courier to collect items from you.
• Stay in control. Refuse unusual requests and don’t be rushed or pressured. Call your bank back using a known number, like the one on the back of your bank card, ideally from a different phone line.
If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Visit Take Five (takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/advice/) and Cyber Aware (cyberaware.gov.uk) for more information about how to protect yourself online.