Hampshire Constabulary issues warning to Alresford and Farnborough residents after recent rise in courier fraud incidents
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Hampshire Constabulary is warning communities in Alresford and Farnborough about the impact of courier fraud after an increase in incidents in the last week; with one resident losing more than £6,500 to fraudsters.
The crimes, often referred to as courier frauds, commonly involve an unexpected call from someone who claims to be a police officer or a staff member from a bank, HMRC or internet or phone provider.
They then tell the victim that their account is subject to fraud and request that they assist them with the ongoing investigation.
In the cases, victims have been directed to withdraw money or buy goods, or a courier has been sent to their home to collect the goods, cash or bank cards. They have also been directed to send them to a nominated address.
In other incidents, the callers have informed the victims that they are the subject of an ongoing investigation and may be subject to arrest if they fail to cooperate with the caller.
The victims have then been put under pressure to either pay an outstanding fine, with this involving being directed to purchase gift cards or Bitcoin, or to move money to a designated account.
Hampshire Constabulary received three reports of suspected courier fraud last week at some time between Wednesday 14 July and Thursday 15 July.
All of the victims were aged between 70 and 90 with one incident in Farnborough and the other two incidents in Alresford.
In the case of one of the victims, the fraudsters were successful in their attempts, and the victim lost more than £6,500.
A Hampshire Constabulary spokesperson said: “The public are our first line of defence in offences of this nature.
“These incidents can often have a significant impact on victims – both emotionally and financially – as they come to terms with the fact that they have fallen for a scam, and the financial losses that come with it.
“However, we want to ensure that those individuals do not become repeat victims, educate them and their loved ones and ensure that fraudsters can no longer take advantage of Hampshire residents.
“If anyone receives a call of this nature, they should not engage with the caller and hang up.
“Hampshire Constabulary is committed to bringing an end to offences of this nature and will take steps to identify and prosecute the individuals responsible.”
Please remember that:
• Police officers, banks and other organisations such as HMRC will never call people in this way and ask you to withdraw money or disclose personal or financial information. If someone does do this, please hang up – it will be a scam.
• If someone calls claiming to be a police officer, ask for their ID number and police force. Wait at least five minutes before calling back. A genuine police officer will not mind waiting while you check.
• Never hand money or your bank card/pin to someone at the door to be sent off elsewhere.
• Fraudsters often try to make victims buy iTunes vouchers or high end jewellery, which they will then sell to make profit. Genuine organisations will never contact you in this way to pay bills or debts.
• If you are a friend, relative or carer of someone you think might be vulnerable to this type of scam, please speak to them about this advice. You might be the only person who can stop them from being scammed.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, report it to us by calling 101. If a crime is in progress, dial 999.
You can make yourself aware of this type of scam and how to protect yourself by visiting the Action Fraud website (https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/) or by calling them on 0300 123 2040.