Older Britons issued urgent scam warning as victims swindled out of £20,000 on their doorstep

Couple worried looking at bills

Victims have lost an average of £20,032 to the courier scams

GETTY
Temi Laleye

By Temi Laleye


Published: 29/05/2024

- 11:34

People in their 80s are most likely to be targeted by criminals carrying out courier fraud, new data shows

Pensioners have been issued an urgent warning after victims have lost an average of £20,032 to the courier scams.

Courier scams are where fraudsters pose as police officers or bank officials and trick vulnerable people into handing over money, valuables or bank cards to a courier.



More than £28.7million was lost to courier fraud in the last year, according to data from Action Fraud.

The found that people in their 80s are most likely to be targeted by criminals carrying out courier fraud, with this age range accounting for 43 per cent of all victims.

The vulnerable people who are targeted are told there is an issue with their account or a business is operating fraudulently, and their help is required as part of an investigation.

A total of £28,686,091 was lost to courier fraud between April 2023 and March 2024 – down slightly from the previous year.

Couple worried looking at bills

A total of £28,686,091 was lost to courier fraud between April 2023 and March 2024

GETTY

The City of London police saw a case this month where one victim was scammed of £56,000.

The force said five arrests had been made in May following a combined police effort across England and Wales, which received more than 100 referrals in two weeks from 26 forces.

Some 63 per cent of victims were female and 37 per cent were male, with some 85 per cent of victims aged between 60 and 90. The oldest victim was 94.

Detective Sergeant Victoria O’Keefe, from the lead force operations room at the City of London Police, said: “This is a particularly nasty crime type often resulting in significant psychological harm and financial loss to victims, many of whom are living alone and suffering age-related illness.

“Led by the City of London Police, this operation was a joint effort by forces across England and Wales to intensify activity and jointly crack down on fraudsters who prey upon elderly people by cold calling landlines and posing as police officers and bank officials.

"Over a two-week period, we worked with colleagues in the Metropolitan Police and teams across England and Wales to proactively arrest offenders and safeguard vulnerable victims.

“Many elderly people rely on their landline phone to stay connected to the outside world and for peace of mind, we would recommend protecting loved ones from fraudulent calls by getting a call blocking device fitted.


“If you hear that your friend or loved one is being contacted out of the blue by the police or the bank and asked to withdraw money, handover bank cards or make purchases, report it to the police immediately.


Action Force has given guidance on how people can 'spot the signs'. They said:

  • "Someone claiming to be from your bank or local police force calls you to tell you about fraudulent activity but is asking you for personal information or even your PIN to verify who you are.
  • "They’re offering you to call back so you can be sure they’re genuine, but when you try to return the call there’s no dial tone.
  • "They try to offer you peace of mind by having somebody pick up the card for you to save you the trouble of having to go to your bank or local police station."

The force added it had offered victims devices which block unwanted scam and nuisance calls.

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS:


Official advice is that police or banks will never ask for a full password or PIN; never ask people to withdraw money to hand over to them or ask them to transfer money out of their account.

If someone has given their bank details over the phone or handed their card to a courier, they should call their bank straight away to cancel the card.

Reports of fraud should also be made to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

You may like

{% if context.post.roar_specific_data and context.post.roar_specific_data.affiliate_post %} {% elif %} {% endfor %}