Officers have raided three properties as part of a multi-force crackdown on a devious scam which targets the vulnerable and the elderly, known as courier fraud.
Teams from the North East Regional Specialist Operations Unit (NERSOU), Derbyshire Constabulary and the City of London Police carried out targeted strikes on three properties across London last Thursday, (July 11).
The strike action was carried out in relation to a suspected courier fraud scam which targeted elderly victims in the North East, and other parts of the UK and saw three men arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud. Three other men were also interviewed by officers in connection to the offence.
Specialist officers from NERSOU and Derbyshire carried out the strike action with the support of the City of London Police and their specially-trained search dog.
Detective Sergeant Shaun Fordy from NERSOU said: “We have seen the devastating effects scams like courier fraud can have on its vulnerable victims, who are coerced into handing over their savings and valuables to hardened criminals. This not only deprives them of their belongings, but also takes their self-esteem, peace of mind and shatters their trust in organisations like the police.
“We want to reinforce the message that no police force or organisation would ever ask anyone to hand over their valuables, withdraw cash or send anything of value via courier.
“As part of Operational Sentinel, our initiative to tackle serious and organised crime, we will actively pursue those offenders who target and exploit vulnerable people in this way, and work alongside our partners to bring them before the courts.”
In addition to the arrests, officers also seized £1800 in cash.
As part of the scam, victims were cold-called by fraudsters posing as police officers who told them their bank accounts had been hacked and items had been bought with their debit cards. Victims were then told to hang up and dial The Metropolitan police on 161 and report the crime, unaware the fraudsters were actually still on the line posing as the officers.
The victims were then coerced into believing they were an essential part of the police investigation, and were asked to withdraw funds, package up their valuables and bank cards and send these to the ‘officers’ via a courier who would attend their home address.