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Beat the Courier Fraudsters

  • Action Fraud is warning the public to be wary of courier fraud

What’s courier fraud?

Criminals typically carry out courier fraud by cold calling the victim, purporting to be a police officer or bank official to gain their trust. The fraudsters will then claim there’s an issue with the victim’s bank account or request their assistance with an ongoing bank or police investigation.

The ultimate aim of this call is to trick them into handing over money or their bank details.

Common techniques used by the fraudsters include telling the victim to withdraw large sums of cash or go and buy high value items. Sometimes they instruct the victim to leave their bank cards in an envelope somewhere safe. In all cases, a ‘courier’ will then come and pick up the cash, expensive item or envelope, on behalf of the police or bank. They will often come to the victim’s home address.

Protect yourself

Behind all of the clever tricks and ever-changing narratives, there are a few basic recurring elements that are common across many frauds, including courier fraud.  Here’s what you need to remember:

Your bank or the police will never…

  • call and ask you for your full PIN or full banking password
  • Ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them
  • Ask you to transfer money out of your account

It pays to stop and think anytime you receive a request for personal or financial information. Remember, if you feel uncomfortable or unsure about what you’re being asked to do, never hesitate to contact your bank or financial service provider directly, using a number you trust, such as the one listed on your bank statements or on the back of your card. Alternatively, sense check your actions with a trusted friend or family member and get their advice on whether you should go through with any action relating to your finances.

Courier Fraud graphics and social media messaging

Image 1: Do you know the caller is who they say they are?

Suggested wording: Just because someone knows a few basic details about you, it doesn't mean they are genuine. Fraudsters regularly use personal information to build trust and believability. 

Image 2: Fraudsters are deliberately targeting older and vulnerable people

Suggested wording: Unsure whether someone on the phone claiming to be your bank or police is genuine? Hang up, wait a minute, then call your bank / police on a known number to verify their identity. 

Image 3: The police will never ask you to hand over money for safe keeping

Suggested wording: Spot the signs of courier fraud. If someone claiming to be a police officer approaches you and asks you to withdraw money for safe keeping, it's a scam.

Image 4: Common example of courier fraud

Suggested wording: Action Fraud received over 1,900 reports of courier fraud last year. The police will never send someone to your home to collect money, or ask you to transfer funds out of your account. Don't make life easy for criminals.

Image 5: The police will never... infographic

Suggested wording: Victims of courier fraud lost more than £6.5m in 2019. The police or your bank will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, password, or to transfer money to another account. 

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