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Alert: Watch out for elaborate forms of courier fraud

27th January 2015

Action Fraud has received reports of an unusual type of courier fraud, which fools victims into buying expensive jewellery or clothing for the fraudsters. 

Courier fraud continues to be reported and it appears that fraudsters are changing their tactics in order to dupe more victims. 

Similar to the 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. 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.

Unlike the normal type of courier fraud, the fraudster then asks the victim to visit a high-end department store or watch shop to buy an expensive item such as a watch or a designer coat. The fraudster will often speak to them on the phone whilst they make the purchase to ensure that they buy the right thing, they will say to the victim that this is all part of the police investigation and that they to keep in constant contact. 

Once the purchase has been made they will ask the victim to either send the item to them via a taxi service or they will meet them to collect the purchased item. Once the fraudster has the item, all contact from the fraudster stops and the victim is unable to contact them. 

Protect yourself

  • A genuine police officer would never contact you in this way. 
  • The police would never ask someone to aid an investigation by purchasing goods with their own 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.