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Police Warning: Courier Fraud – tricking victims out of PINs and credit card details

August 3rd, 2020

Police forces up and down the country are concerned that courier fraud is becoming more prevalent and increasingly sophisticated. Don’t fall victim to scammers. Please use this information to keep yourself, your family members, friends and neighbours alert to the danger. 

What you should know

In most cases of courier fraud, victims are called by someone who claims to be from their bank, the Police or some other law enforcement agency. Fraudsters then trick their victims into revealing their PIN and/or credit or debit card details. The most common victims of courier fraud are the elderly.

Examples of courier fraud

  1. A scammer calls, claiming to be a police officer or an employee of the bank. 

They will claim that:

  • A fraudulent payment has been spotted on the victim’s bank account that needs sorting out 
  • Someone has been arrested who has been using the victim’s personal details and cards

Victims may be asked to call the bank using the phone number on the back of their card. This convinces them that the call is genuine. But the line has been kept open at their end, so when they make the call, they’re unknowingly connected straight back to the fraudsters, who will either ask for their PIN or ask them to key it into their phone. (No bank or other legitimate service will ever ask account holders to reveal their PIN.)

The scammer then sends a courier or taxi to pick up the card from the victim’s home. (The driver may not even be aware they’re being used as part of the scam.) Once the scammer has both the card and the PIN they can spend the victim’s money.

  1. Victims are contacted by someone posing as a bank security department or police officer. They’re told that there’s a corrupt member of staff at their bank, post office or bureau de change and that their help is needed to identify that person. The scammer asks their victim to withdraw a large sum of your money, which the police or bank will mark, then put back into the banking system. They say this will help them identify the corrupt person. Once that money leaves the victim’s account, however, the scammers simply make off with it. 
  1. A fake police officer phones or approaches the victim and asks them to buy an expensive watch or other high-value item, to help establish whether counterfeit goods are being sold. Once the victim has bought the item, the scammer tells them  to hand it to a taxi driver for transfer to the police. The expensive item is, of course, taken straight to the scammer. 
  1. The scammer contacts the victim and says their bank account has been taken over and they need to transfer all the funds into a “safe account”. Of course, the new account is operated by the scammers, who can then steal the funds.

To keep up to date with the latest risks, please follow any of the Northamptonshire Police information channels:

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