Officers in Hampshire have launched Operation Signature to raise awareness of courier enabled fraud in the run up to Christmas.
Police are urging residents to be extra vigilant and to warn elderly friends and relatives about fraudsters who pose as police officers, tax officers or other officials, in order to steal their money.
In many cases elderly people have been contacted by phone and told there’s a problem with their bank account or card and advised to phone their bank or police to check the call is genuine. The fraudsters stay on the line and tell their victims to give their pin number or to withdraw money from their bank accounts; they are then told to hand the cash or bank card over to a courier who goes to their address.
In other incidents, victims have been told to buy iTunes vouchers or expensive jewellery, which the fraudsters say they believe may be fake. Again a courier then collects the items.
To help combat this type of crime, officers in East Hants visited locations that potential victims may go to, to give out crime prevention advice.
Police crime prevention advice is:
never give out personal or bank details to anyone who contacts you unexpectedly
never tell anyone your PIN number
if you have given out information which could compromise your bank security in any way, call your bank to cancel your cards as soon as possible.
never hand over your card, money or valuables to someone at the door to be sent off elsewhere
Sgt Ian Dugdale said: “We are launching Operation Signature to raise awareness of courier fraud, in which vulnerable people are being targeted by fraudsters who are intent on stealing their money.
“I would urge people to never hand over bank cards, cash or other items to people posing as police officers or other officials. If in doubt, call the police - preferably from a different phone or make sure the phone-line is clear.
“I would also ask people to look out for elderly friends, family or neighbours, to help make sure they don’t become victims.”
Anyone who is concerned about courier fraud should call police on 101. If a crime is in progress, please call 999.