Beware of courier fraud and other phone scams – criminals are targeting our elderly family and friends

Many of the current scams operating are very convincing indeed – warn your relatives about courier fraud and to to give away information, no matter how authoritative the caller sounds. Image from iStockphoto

I’ve become aware over the last few days that phone scammers are targeting the local area once more –  and are employing a number of methods, including courier fraud and impersonating tax officials – please warn your elderly and vulnerable friends, family and neighbours.

West Midlands Police wrote:

Courier Fraud

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has identified an increasing number of reports submitted to Action Fraud from the public concerning courier fraud.

Fraudsters are contacting victims by telephone and purporting to be a police officer or bank official. To substantiate this claim, the caller might be able to confirm some easily obtainable basic details about the victim such as their full name and address.

They may also offer a telephone number for the victim to call to check that they are genuine; this number is not genuine and simply redirects to the fraudster who pretends to be a different person. After some trust has been established, the fraudster will then, for example, suggest;

  • Some money has been removed from a victim’s bank account and staff at their local bank branch are responsible.
  • Suspects have already been arrested but the ‘police’ need money for evidence.
  • A business such as a jewellers or currency exchange is operating fraudulently and they require assistance to help secure evidence.

Victims are then asked to cooperate in an investigation by attending their bank and withdrawing money, withdrawing foreign currency from an exchange or purchasing an expensive item to hand over to a courier for examination who will also be a fraudster. Again, to reassure the victim, a safe word might be communicated to the victim so the courier appears genuine.

At the time of handover, unsuspecting victims are promised the money they’ve handed over or spent will be reimbursed but in reality there is no further contact and the money is never seen again.

Protect Yourself

Your bank or the police will never:

  • Phone and ask you for your PIN or full banking password.
  • Ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them for safekeeping, or send someone to your home to collect cash, PIN, cards or cheque books if you are a victim of fraud.

Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic.

Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and address or even your mother’s maiden name), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Be mindful of who you trust – criminals may try and trick you into their confidence by telling you that you’ve been a victim of fraud

Stay in control

If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information.

For more information about how to protect yourself online visit  and

Please tell your relatives and neighbours about these scams, and impress upon them how important it is not to give away dpersonal details on the phone to cold callers. If in doubt, get details, call companies back and have someone else check them out before making any kind of payment for anything.

Explain that no official body will turn up at your door or call you demanding money – least of all the police.

Please,  if you have any further information relating to the operation of this con or if you or someone you know as been targeted, please contact West Midlands Police by dialling 101 (999 in an emergency, obviously) or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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2 Responses to Beware of courier fraud and other phone scams – criminals are targeting our elderly family and friends

  1. Pedro says:

    My elderly aunt who will be 90 next month, and lives in Great Wyrley, has had about 6 calls from a number in Birmingham 0121 308 3824. Luckily she missed most by being at doctors appointments or by the inability to reach the phone quickly. When checking on Google it was apparent that the number was used by scams targeting very old people.

  2. Pedro says:

    Following the advice at the bottom of the notice I rang Crimestoppers and was given a number that sent me to the Consumer Advice. I don’t think that this would be particularly helpful so I rang 101, and after about 12 mins waiting I made contact and was advised to ring Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

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