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Warning after reports of courier fraud in south-west London

News   •   Dec 05, 2020 07:00 GMT

Police are urging the public to be vigilant after receiving numerous reports of courier fraud in south-west London.

Residents in the areas of Kingston, Surbiton and Twickenham have been contacted over the phone by people claiming to be police officers stating they require assistance in an ongoing police investigation.

The victims are encouraged to attend their local bank and withdraw thousands of pounds. A password is given to the victim and a courier will later arrive to collect the money, stating the same password.

This is not a police investigation and is a scam. Officers will never ask you to hand over money.

This is taking place frequently in the area and is disproportionately affecting the more elderly members of the community.

Detective Constable Laura Travers, of the South West Basic Command Unit, said: "The recent courier frauds taking place in the south west of London are a real concern, particularly as the group generally affected are the elderly members of the community. This is not only having a significant financial impact, but an emotional impact on each and every victim. These crimes take advantage of peoples’ good nature and can have a lasting effect.

"I would urge everyone in the community to discuss this matter with elderly friends and family members to make sure that they are aware of these types of scams. If you receive a call from an unknown person, hang up, take five minutes and then verify the callers’ identification through a trusted method. Genuine police officers will not ask you to take out cash or to send cash via a courier. If you suspect you have been a victim of fraud, please call 101 or 999 in an emergency."

Police are advising members of the public to do the following:

  • If you receive a call from an unknown person, hang up, take five minutes and then verify the callers identification through a trusted method
  • If the caller claims to be a police officer, request their details and reference number that the incident relates to, hang up and then call 101 in order to check this
  • Do not give out personal details such as banking information over the phone
  • If you suspect that you have been a victim of fraud, please call 101 or 999 in an emergency

Always remember:

  • Genuine police officers will never ask people to withdraw cash
  • Police will not ask members of the public to send cash to them via a courier
  • All genuine police officers will be happy to verify their credentials

Anyone with information that may assist in identifying the suspects in these offences can contact police on 101 quoting reference CAD: 2124/03DEC20.

For more advice on protecting yourself from fraud, visit www.met.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/personal-fraud

The Metropolitan Police's 'The Little Book of Big Scams' can be found https://www.met.police.uk/SysSiteAssets/media/downloads/central/advice/fraud/met/the-little-book-of-big-scams.pdf

Case study

In November, a couple, aged in their 80s and from Kingston, were contacted on their landline by a person claiming to be a police officer.

The ‘officer’ stated the couple's bank cards had been scammed and police had someone in custody. The ‘officer’ said they wanted evidence to keep the suspect in custody and they were part of a much wider scam. The couple were told they would need to go to the bank and withdraw £4,000 and were specifically told not to tell the bank staff the nature of the withdrawal, as the 'police' suspected that the staff were part of the conspiracy. They were also told to take a mobile phone and to keep the line open so that the person could hear what was happening.

The couple did as they were told to do and on their return home, spoke to the person claiming to be a police officer. They were told to wear gloves to count the money out and to read the numbers on the notes to the caller. The caller then said that the notes were counterfeit and that he would arrange for a courier to collect them. The couple were also advised to place their bank cards with the money, and were given a password that the courier would need to tell them. On the arrival of the courier, they were told the same password and then handed over the £4,000 and their bank cards.