So-called ‘courier fraud’ involves offenders targeting elderly or vulnerable people by calling them and posing as someone in a position of authority, often a police officer.
The Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Disruption Team, which covers the region's four police forces, is today (Tuesday) urging residents to be vigilant when it comes to the offence.
After calling their victims, the fraudsters then tell them that there has been a fraud on their account but that there bank is in involved, before urging them to hand over cash and sending a fake 'courier' to collect the money from their home.
Detective Constable Heather Shearer, from the Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Disruption Team, has issued advice of how to avoid falling victim to so-called courier fraud, in a newly-released video.
It comes after eight people were sentenced to a total of more than 30 years at Leeds Crown Court last month, following a £200,000 national scam where the offenders posed as police officers.
Det Shearer said: “This is a despicable crime which targets vulnerable people. It can have a terrible impact on victims – they can become withdrawn and embarrassed because of it.
“Education and knowledge are vital in making life so much more difficult for these criminals and I would ask anyone who knows potentially vulnerable people to watch the video and then pass on the messages within it.”
Police have also issued general advice on how to avoid 'courier fraud'.
A police officer will never ask you for cash or your bank details
If you are approached and are in anyway unsure then either visit a police station or call your local force on 101. If the caller is a genuine police officer then they will have no problem waiting for you to carry out these simple checks.
If they do have a problem or try and rush you into doing something then it is likely they are involved in a scam.
Take some time to think when approached. Fraudsters will usually try and use time pressure to force you into a quick decision but people alerting you to a genuine crime will not have a problem taking your time.
Think – do you bank with one particular bank but the person on the phone is talking about a different one? Even if they have the right bank it doesn’t mean it is legitimate.