It’s thought a rise in online shopping during lockdown has helped fraudsters exploit their victims.
Fraudsters claiming to be from the police, the bank or officials from other organisations have conned locals out of thousands of pounds after tricking them to hand over bank cards, details or cash.
The police are calling it “Courier Fraud” and have made an appeal to local people to be on the look out for the tell-tale signs.
The recent lockdown has seen a national increase in online shopping, and it’s thought that some who aren’t used to making purchases online are especially vulnerable to being exploited by these fraudsters due to gaps in their knowledge about how it works.
Detective Inspector Duncan Wynn, part of the Thames Valley Police Economic Crime Unit, said: “We are aware that criminals have used stories including an unexpected order on an online account that you may or may not have, or that your bank card has been found on suspect in police custody and that officers want to move your money into a safe account.
“Courier fraud is not a new crime type and we haven’t seen an increase during lockdown but we are still seeing our residents targeted regularly.
“Unfortunately, anyone could be targeted by those committing courier fraud but we do tend to see that a larger majority of those targeted are aged over 70-years-old. It is important to be vigilant of any phone calls that you receive out of the blue
“The police and other reputable organisations will never ask you to move money to a safe account, ask you to reveal your banking PIN or full password or send anyone to your house to collect cards, cash or jewellery.
“Our advice is simple and can be remembered as stop, challenge protect.
“Stop and take a moment to think before parting with your money or information
“Challenge and question whether the call could be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests and hang up. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
“Protect yourself and your money and contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam and make a report to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.”
Further information and help can be found on the Action Fraud website, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre.