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Alert: scammers are changing tactics to commit courier fraud

8th June 2015

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau’s (NFIB) proactive intelligence team is warning people about a new variation of courier fraud involving Foreign Exchange Bureaus.

As with traditional types of courier fraud, the victim receives a phone call and they are told that they’re speaking to a police officer and that the police want them to assist in an investigation. 

The police officer provides them with a phone number and asks them to call back so that the victim can verify their identity, or will direct the victim to contact their bank. The victim will physically put the phone down, but the fraudster will actually stay on the line – keeping it open. When the victim phones back they are still speaking to the fraudster who tells the victim that they are at risk of being defrauded and to stop this they need their assistance.

Action Fraud has previously warned about a variation of courier where the victim is asked to buy an expensive item such as a watch or a designer coat. Fraudsters are now evolving their tactics by directing victims to visit Foreign Exchange Bureaus and withdraw foreign currency. 

Withdrawing cash in Euros

A convicted courier fraudster interviewed by City of London Police detectives said: “The banks are catching on to this now. Whenever an elderly person comes into the bank to withdraw cash saying that they’ve been a victim of fraud they get suspicious. What we do now is tell the victims to draw the cash out from a foreign exchange bureau in Euros. They don’t ask them any questions.” 

The fraudsters will then arrange for the cash to be collected by taxi or courier service.

Action Fraud has also received reports where suspects posing as police officers or bank staff tell victims told to move their money to a ‘safe’ account that has been created in their name to stop ‘further’ funds being stolen. 

The fraudster also said: “Courier fraud gangs are getting squeezed out of London. What they do now is go to hotels in cities like Manchester and Bristol and stay there for a couple of weeks. They work out of the hotels targeting victims using details from the local telephone and online directories.”        

Protect yourself

  • Banks and the police would never ask someone to aid an investigation withdrawing or transferring money 
  • If you receive one of these calls, end it immediately.

Victim advice

  • Report this to Action Fraud
  • If you have handed over any bank account details to the fraudster, call your bank and cancel your cards immediately.
  • If you want to call your bank, then do it from another telephone. If you don’t have another telephone to use, call someone you know first to make sure the telephone line is free.