Residents, especially the elderly, are being warned about a courier fraud scam operating in some areas of Chiltern and South Bucks.
There have been at least 10 incidents of this type of fraud in Chiltern and South Bucks with the majority occurring in and around the Beaconsfield area. A small number of people have fallen victim, with some being conned into handing over some of their life savings.
In a number of cases, the offender/s have claimed to be police officers investigating reports of counterfeit notes.
In a recent incident, on 14 July, an elderly woman from Chalfont St Peter handed over £5,000. Earlier in the day, she had received a telephone call from a man claiming to be a police officer.
He told the woman that her local bank was producing counterfeit notes and that she needed to go to the branch to withdraw £5,000 in cash. Following instructions, the 85-year-old woman withdrew the cash.
Upon returning home, she telephoned the caller, as requested, and he asked her to read out some of the serial numbers of the notes withdrawn. At this point, the caller informed her that they were all counterfeit notes and that he would be sending someone over to collect them to take back to ‘Scotland Yard’ where they would be investigated. A short time later, a man appeared at her front door and she handed over the cash.
A few days before, on 11 July, another elderly woman from Beaconsfield received a call from a man claiming to be ‘Detective Hart’ who informed her that there had been suspicious activity on her bank account and she needed to go to her bank. When she refused to walk to her bank, the man said he would send over a taxi which she declined. Nothing was taken during this incident.
In another incident, on 4 July, an 89-year-old man from Beaconsfield was scammed out of £10,000 after he too was contacted by a man claiming to be ‘Detective Hart’ who said he was from ‘New Scotland Yard Serious fraud office’. The caller told the victim that his local bank was under investigation due to counterfeit notes being given out by staff.
The victim was convinced to withdraw £10,000 to see whether it was counterfeit money. He was told to say he was buying a classic car if questioned by the bank cashier. A man later called at the victim’s door and the cash was handed over.
In some of the cases, victims were led to believe that the caller was genuine as they offered a number for them to call them back on, usually ‘161’, a line which had been kept open by the offender/s.
This type of scam is happening in other areas of the Thames Valley and further afield, and people are warned to be on their guard.
Advice to remember:
- Your bank and/or the police will never ask for your PIN.
- Your bank will never attend your home to deliver a replacement card or to collect cash.
- Your bank and/or the police will never collect your bank card.
There are a number of variations to the scam, including:
- Fraudsters who pretend to be from the police cold-calling members of the public and telling them that their bank account has been compromised by criminals. The fraudster suggests that the person should transfer their bank balance into a ‘safe’ police bank account.
- Fraudsters pretending to be from the police attending people’s addresses and retrieving the person’s card and PIN.
- Fraudsters calling the victims and telling them to withdraw large amounts of money from their bank accounts, put it in an envelope, and hand this over to a courier who would call at their home. The fraudster tells the victim this is necessary as there arecorrupt staff at the bank, and not to speak to anyone when they withdraw the money.
- Members of the public receiving letters on bank-headed paper informing them that their account has been the subject of a fraud. The letter advises them to transfer their funds to a ‘safe’ account and that an official will be in contact to provide them with a new card and PIN.
- Fraudsters contacting members of the public requesting them to cut their cards in half because their account has been compromised. They are then asked to post the cut card to an address where fraudsters simply tape the card together again and can use the details to commit fraud.
To report this type of fraud call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. In an emergency, dial 999.