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Case Studies

Phone, courier frauds

After receiving goods including mobile phones they had not ordered, people have fallen victim to fraud, Northumbria Police warn.

The conmen arrange for a mobile phone or other goods to be delivered to the victim’s address and then call the victim saying it has been delivered in error and will be collected by a courier company. The victim is then left with the bill for the item that has been wrongly delivered while the conmen gain the property.

Police say that they are working with mobile phone and delivery companies to notify them about the scam and are advising anyone who receives a mobile phone or other goods they haven’t ordered to contact police. Victims are also advised not to hand the mobile phone or goods over to the courier collecting company – they have an obligation to attend to collect it.

It’s believed the conmen are based in the south of the country and officers are working with Action Fraud UK.

PC Mick Trainer, from Sunderland Area Command, said: “This is a complex scam where the offenders are ordering goods in other peoples names then arranging collection of those goods leaving the innocent party with the bill to pay. Our advice to anyone who has received or receives a mobile phone or other goods that they haven’t ordered is to contact police or Action Fraud UK so enquiries can be carried out to establish if it is part of a scam.”

Action Fraud UK can be contacted on 0300 123 2040 or for further information about fraud visit the website www.actionfraud.police.uk

Meanwhile between Tuesday, January 7 and Tuesday, January 14, a number of elderly residents living in Aldershot received calls from a man claiming to be a police officer from the Metropolitan Police. Those receiving the calls were told that someone was in custody for cloning their card or withdrawing money from their account. They were asked for personal details and told to hang up the phone and call their bank.

When the person has picked up the phone to call the bank, using the number on the rear of their bank card, there has been no dialling tone indicating that the caller hasn’t hung up the phone. The majority of the victims then became suspicious. However, others continued to follow instructions from the fraudsters.

If people continue to speak with the fraudster, they are told to withdraw large sums of money from their accounts which will be collected by a courier, or they are told to hand over their bank cards to the courier. Other victims have been warned not to tell anyone or the investigation could be compromised and they may find themselves before the court for committing a criminal offence. People have lost large sums of cash as a result of this fraud as often the elderly and vulnerable are targeted.

Hampshire Detective Constable Graham Robson said: “We want to warn residents that these requests are not genuine and that no police officer or bank would operate in this manner. Anyone who receives a suspicious call is urged not to give any details to the caller and report the matter to the police immediately.

“Any courier companies or taxi drivers that may have been asked to pick up such packages in the area are also urged to report this to police.

“We are aware of incidents occurring in Aldershot but we believe elderly and vulnerable people across the country are also being targeted.

“If you have elderly relatives, friends or neighbours please make them aware of this scam and remind them not to give any details to unexpected callers. Remain alert and if you see them being approached by unexpected visitors please check who they are and ensure they are a legitimate caller.”

People are reminded to protect themselves using the following advice:
• Never give out any personal information about your bank account to anybody over the phone.
• If someone calls claiming to be a police officer, ask for their identification number and police force. Hang up the call and advise that you will call them back using the 101 number. A genuine police officer will not mind waiting while you check. Please check that there is a dialling tone and the original caller has hung up the phone.
• If you have given out information which could compromise your bank account security in any way, call your bank up to cancel your cards as soon as possible.
• Never hand over money to someone at the door to be sent off elsewhere.
• If someone comes to your door claiming to be a police officer or staff member, always ask for identification and make a note of their identification number. Ask them to wait while you verify their identity. Close the door and call 101.


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