A warning has been issued after a number of elderly people were duped out of large sums of money after being contacted by bogus police officers.
Since 10 December last year to date 17 reports of courier fraud have been received by the force. With seven of those victims suffering losses of more than £135,000.
During the incidents the victims have received a call from someone claiming to be a police officer who’s investigating counterfeit currency or fraudulent use of the victim’s bank card.
One such recent report was received from an Oadby woman in her 80s who was initially contacted in December last year by someone claiming he was a police officer from London who was investigating counterfeit currency.
Over a period of time the suspect gained the victim’s trust and subsequently told the victim to withdraw a large sum of money and purchase gold so they can check the money isn’t counterfeit.
A courier was then sent to the victim’s home address to collect the gold. The victim lost more than £30,000.
In another incident a Knighton man in his 80s was contacted over a period of two weeks in December by someone claiming he was a police officer from London, he said he was investigating fraudulent transactions on the victim’s wife’s bank card.
The suspect claimed the bank card was used in a department store to purchase two high value watches. He was told to withdraw a large sum of money from his bank and purchase some gold bars from a local jewellers. Gold bars to the value of £40,000 were purchased and subsequently picked up by a courier.
Paul Wenlock from the force’s economic crime unit, said: “We are growing increasingly concerned about these types of offences. Suspects are gaining the victim’s trust over a period of a few weeks and ensuring they don’t speak to anyone about the calls. They sound genuine and victims feel they have no choice but to do as they are told.
“These types of offences are borderless crimes, those responsible target victims not necessarily in their own area but across the country. We work closely with forces across the country to ensure any intelligence identified during investigations is shared.
“A number of warnings have been issued about these crimes but we know not everyone accesses social media or the internet, so we are asking the public to help us by informing their neighbours or relatives about these offences.
“They should be advised that police officers would never contact them in this way. If they are called they should disconnect the call straightaway and report the incident to the police using another telephone, as on some occasions calls can remain connected.
“On some occasions suspects will use local taxi or courier companies, who unknowingly accept the job. We would ask that people remain vigilant and if they are contacted to collect packages be mindful of who they are collecting these from if they have any suspicions to report them to the police immediately.”
Further advice about these offences can be found on https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/a-z-of-fraud/courier-fraud
Leicestershire Police News 26/01/21