The warning comes after there have been reports of ‘courier frauds’, where victims have been called on the telephone by someone claiming to be an officer from the Metropolitan Police in London.
A new list of tactics used by courier fraudsters has been unveiled by the City of London Police.
The signs of courier fraud include unsolicited telephone calls to the victim, where the fraudster poses as a bank official, police officer or a computer or utility engineer.
Courier fraudsters will usually request the victim purchase high value items such as Rolex watches and gold bullion, withdraw cash or provide a bank card for collection from a courier.
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Fraudsters will instruct victims not to tell any family or friends about what they are doing.
When carrying out courier fraud, criminals will request the victim hangs up the phone to ring their bank for confirmation while keeping the line open. The suspect then purports to be bank official and provides false confirmation.
Fraudsters will also make arrangements for a courier to meet the victim to collect the item they have purchased.
An analysis of data from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has highlighted four modus operandi (MOs) which are now more commonly being used by fraudsters.
The first is a bank card expiry. Fraudsters claim to be from the victim’s bank and say their card is no longer valid. They ask for the pin number and then send a “courier” to collect the card before using it for fraudulent purposes.
The second is purchasing high end items. The suspects pretend to be police officers and ask the victim to help with an undercover operation by purchasing expensive items like watches, jewellery and gold. Once the item is bought, the victim will hand over the item to the criminal.
Thirdly, a counterfeit cash/bank investigation takes place. A person claiming to be a police or banking official informs the victim that they need to help with a banking corruption investigation. The victim is told to withdraw a large amount of money and the cash is picked up later by a courier to “check for fingerprints or to identify counterfeit bank notes”.
The fourth is a computer takeover. The fraudster telephones the victim, purporting to be from their internet service provider, saying that they have had an issue with their internet connectivity and they are due compensation.
The victim is persuaded to download a remote access application, giving the suspects access to their home computers. The fraudster persuades the victims into thinking that they have been paid too much compensation and the victims then withdraw cash to pay the money back, which is later collected by a courier.