POLICE are urging residents in Hampshire to remain vigilant following six reports of courier fraud since January – with one woman losing almost £17,000.

This type of fraud typically sees a victim receive an unexpected call from someone who pretends to be a police officer, a staff member from their local bank, or an employee from an internet or phone provider.

They then tell the victim that their account has been subject to fraudulent activity and then request that the victim helps with the ongoing investigation.

Victims are usually asked for details about their financial accounts before being sent to their bank to withdraw money. They are then told to hand over money or an expensive item to a fraudulent courier, who will typically come to their home to collect it. 

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The fraudsters then send couriers to collect bank cards from victims and ask for PIN numbers and if they can hand over any relevant items, such as mobile phones.

Since the beginning of 2024, officers have received six reports of courier fraud, with five cases being reported in the last month. The total loss is approximately £70,000. One victim was scammed out of almost £17,000. 

Officers are urging people to not engage with these types of calls. 

On March 2, police received a report that a woman in her 80s from Eastleigh was scammed out of £16,900 after she was contacted by someone pretending to be from her bank’s fraud team.

She was told that she had been scammed and she needed to hand over her bank cards and mobile phone so they could resolve the issue. 

A courier then attended her home address to collect her bank cards, PIN numbers and mobile phone.

She was told to not reveal the original ‘scam’ to anyone and that she shouldn’t leave her address. The fraudsters also said she should be available to take calls from them so they could provide her with updates.

Between February 29 and March 2, a total of £16,900 was withdrawn from locations including Eastleigh and London.

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Detective constable Michael Dumbleton, from the economic crime unit, said: “These fraudsters are heartless individuals who prey on some of the most vulnerable people living in our area.

“The scammers will constantly look at new ways to get money from people and it seems they are taking a more direct approach by telling elderly victims they have been scammed, or that their cards have expired.

“The suspects then withdraw a lot of cash and make high value purchases in electronic or designer clothing stores. 

“Victims of courier fraud can be any age, but the victims in the incidents currently being investigated range from 67 and 99 years old. I urge anyone who has an elderly relative to make them aware of this type of fraud as soon as possible. 

“Please remember that banks, police or other officials will not contact people in this way and will not request them to hand over bank cards, PIN details, cash or other valuables.

“If anyone receives a call of this nature, they should not engage with the caller and hang up. We are wholly committed to investigating offences of this nature and will take steps to identify and bring those individuals responsible to justice.”

For more information, visit actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.