The men were brought to justice after an investigation led by the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command and is one of the biggest courier fraud investigations carried out by police in the UK.
The gang targeted the elderly and vulnerable in courier fraud-style scams and used 16 telephone lines to make 5,695 calls to 3,774 different numbers across the UK.
Once they gained the trust of their victims over the phone they persuaded them to hand over cash to their ‘couriers’ whom the victims believed were working for the police on secret investigations
Reports were received via Action Fraud and then combined with intelligence from the NTFIU to produce a more complete picture of the group’s activities.
Police believe many more victims could have fallen for the scam, but may have not come forward to report because they’re too embarrassed to do so.
Victims were targeted in Bedfordshire, Devon, Hertfordshire, Cornwall, Kent and London. In one case, a 76-year-old woman from Poole, Dorset, was targeted by the group and defrauded of just over £135,000. In another, a 94-year-old man from north-west London had £130,000 stolen after handing it over to the fraudsters.
Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud said “Cases such as this demonstrate the importance of providing the courts with a complete picture. This group operated across multiple force areas and digital policing in the form of centralised reporting and analysis through the Action Fraud/NFIB service enabled the NTFIU to evidence the impact of this cruel scam”.
To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.