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We are urging residents in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to remain vigilant following a number of recent reports of courier fraud.
The crimes commonly involve an unexpected call from someone who purports to be a police officer, a staff member from their local bank, or an employee from an internet or phone provider.
They then tell the victim that their account has been subject to fraudulent activity, or is in danger of being closed and then request the victim assist them with the ongoing investigation, with this involving:
• Being asked for details about their financial accounts and bank cards,
• Being sent to their bank to withdraw money, or being asked to buy high value goods, or
• Granting the caller access to their computer or phone, by downloading an application.
Officers received three reports of potential courier fraud incidents in the Southampton area yesterday (Tuesday 25 October).
A woman in her 60s from Southampton, a woman in her 60s from Hythe, and a man from Hythe, all received phone calls from someone claiming to be a police officer from Hammersmith Police Station in London.
They were asked to provide information about their financial accounts. Thankfully, they believed it was a fraudulent phone call and put the phone down.
No information was given.
Officers are investigating these incidents and enquiries are ongoing.
Acting Detective Inspector Marcus Mills, from the Economic Crime Unit, said: “We know that offences of this nature can have a significant impact on victims, both emotionally and financially – as they come to terms with the financial losses after falling victim to a scam.
“Thankfully the people who reported the incidents to us yesterday realised the calls related to a potential fraud and hung up before giving any information.
“We do not want anyone to fall victim to these scammers and we are taking these steps to inform residents of courier fraud; so that they are aware of this type of contact and can avoid becoming a victim.
“If anyone receives a call of this nature, they should not engage with the caller and hang up.
“We are wholly committed to investigating offences of this nature and will take steps to identify and bring those individuals responsible to justice.”
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 verifying details with the appropriate Force and ensure the call has disconnected as scammers will often leave the line open. A genuine police officer will not mind waiting while you check their identity.
• Your bank or the police will never send a courier to your home to collect cash, bank cards, PINs or other valuable goods.
• Never hand money or your bank card/pin to someone at the door to be sent off elsewhere.
• 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.