Half a million pounds stolen from North Yorkshire residents in gold bar courier scam, fraud detectives say
A combined half a million pounds has been stolen from two victims of a scam asking them to buy bars of gold, North Yorkshire Police has said.
Fraud detectives say they have seen two incidents of the gold bullion scam alone in the past month in the county and are warning the wider public to be vigilant.
The scam involves criminals contacting the victim claiming to be from the police, stating that they are monitoring fraudulent activity on their accounts which are under threat.
The victim is then informed to clear their bank accounts as their money is at risk if they leave it in there.
Police said that, in both of these incidents, the victims were then directed to purchase large amounts of gold bullion in order to support the police investigation.
Both were told that the bullion would then be collected by a ‘courier’ which would send it to the victim’s home, with the scammers reassuring them that the gold would be kept in a safe, secure place until the investigation was concluded.
Head of North Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit, Detective Inspector Jon Hodgeon said: “Although we have come across this type of what’s known as ‘courier fraud’ in the past, it’s highly unusual to see two incidents in such a small time frame and with substantial amounts of money being lost.
“Courier fraud is unfortunately very common, but this added step of persuading the victims to purchase large amounts of gold bullion gives great cause for concern.
“The scammers invest a lot of time and effort in doing everything they can to present themselves as legitimate, ringing from different phone numbers and posing as other members of the police force to add credibility to their elaborate story.
“You might read this and think that you would never fall victim to a scam of this nature, but you cannot underestimate how manipulative and extremely clever these scammers can be."
Det Insp Hodgeon added that the police and banks never contact people asking them to move or transfer money.
"We will never ask you to lie to your bank or your family and we will certainly never ask you to purchase gold bullion," he said.
“If you receive a call like this, hang up immediately. If you are ever worried about any calls you receive speak to a family member, friend, your bank or ring the police.”
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