A TREND in a scam called 'courier fraud' has been increasing in the area.

Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Services has noticed an increase in the report of the scam in the area.

'Courier fraud' is where a resident is cold called on the telephone by a person purporting to be from the Police or other Law Enforcement Agency.

The aim of the call is to persuade the resident to withdraw money from the bank, often in large amounts, which will later be collected by an ‘agent’ of the scammer.

The reasons given by the caller are elaborate and complex and it is likely that an element of victim grooming takes place. Examples of the scam include: helping with Police investigations against the bank, that the bank are dealing in counterfeit money, that the bank is committing fraud and the resident’s money is in danger, but other reasons could be given.

Bank staff often ask questions of the customer if the transaction is unusual or suspicious, and the scammer gives the victim a cover story.

Once the money has been withdrawn from the bank, the scammer will arrange for the ‘evidence’ to be collected.

If the victim falls for the scam, it is likely that they will be targeted again.

Similar methods have been used to get victims to buy iTunes/Amazon vouchers, or to withdraw Euros.

Neither the Police of any other form of law enforcement would operate in this way.

Residents are urged to report any suspicious activity to the Police on 101, to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or to Trading Standards via our partners at the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06. In an emergency, call the Police on 999.