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Don’t assume a phone call is authentic just because someone knows your basic details.

Middlesbrough`s operational reducing reoffending group-an operational delivery group of the Community Safety Partnership and Cleveland Police Cyber Crimes Unit are creating awareness of this wave of courier fraud.

Courier fraud occurs when a fraudster contacts victims by telephone purporting to be a police officer or bank official. To substantiate this claim, the caller might be able to confirm some easily obtainable basic details about the victim such as their full name and address.

The caller may also offer a telephone number for the victim to telephone or ask the victim to call the number on the back of their bank card to check that they are genuine. In these circumstances, either the number offered will not be genuine or, where a genuine number is suggested, the fraudster will stay on the line and pass the victim to a different individual.

After some trust has been established, the fraudster will then, for example, suggest;

  • Some money has been removed from a victim’s bank account and staff at their local bank branch are responsible.
  • Suspects have already been arrested but the “police” need money for evidence.
  • A business such as a jewellers or currency exchange is operating fraudulently and they require assistance to help secure evidence.

Victims are then asked to co-operate in an investigation by attending their bank and withdrawing money, withdrawing foreign currency from an exchange or purchasing an expensive item to hand over to a courier for examination who will also be a fraudster.

At the time of handover, unsuspecting victims are promised the money they’ve handed over or spent will be reimbursed but in reality there is no further contact and the money is never seen again.

Visit www.actionfraud.police.uk to find out how to protect yourself, how to spot the signs and how to report fraud.