Isle of Wight residents – reports of courier fraud
We are urging residents on the Isle of Wight to remain vigilant following a number of recent reports of courier fraud on the Island.
The crimes commonly involve an unexpected call from someone who purports to be a police officer or a staff member from their local bank, or an employee from an internet or phone provider.
They then tell the victim that their account has been subject to fraudulent activity, or is in danger of being closed and then request the victim assist them with the ongoing investigation, with this involving:
· Being asked for details about their financial accounts and bank cards,
· Being sent to their bank to withdraw money, or being asked to buy high value goods, or
· Granting the caller access to their computer or phone, by downloading an application.
Between Thursday 4 August and Saturday 6 August, a man in his 80s, from Ventnor, was contacted by someone claiming to be from his bank.
He was then persuaded to provide details about his account to enable someone to order £2,500 worth of Apple products, which were then delivered to his address.
The victim was told not to open the goods, as a ‘courier’ had been arranged to collect them.
Fortunately, a family member recognised the fraud prior to the collection of the goods and the police were called.
Between Monday 1 August and Wednesday 3 August, a woman in her 80s, from Bembridge, was contacted by people claiming to be police officers from Hammersmith Police Station in London.
They claimed a family member had been arrested and attempted to get the woman to pay ‘bail’ for the individual. The people on the phone tried to obtain sensitive and personal information from her.
On Wednesday 13 July, a woman in her 80s, from Ryde, received a phone call from someone claiming to be from the fraud department of her bank.
During the call, she was convinced that she needed to attend her bank and withdraw a large quantity of cash, or face the prospect of losing the money as her account had been ‘compromised’.
Although she did attend the bank to withdraw the money, questions asked by the genuine bank staff led to the identification of the fraud and any loss was prevented.
Officers have launched investigations into the incidents and our enquiries are ongoing.
Temporary Detective Sergeant Mark Leonard, from the Economic Crime Unit, said: “We know that offences of this nature can have a significant impact on victims, both emotionally and financially – as they come to terms with the financial losses after falling victim to a scam.
“For this reason, we are taking these steps to inform Island residents of courier fraud; so that they are aware of this type of contact and can avoid becoming a victim.
“If anyone receives a call of this nature, they should not engage with the caller and hang up.
“We are wholly committed to bringing an end to offences of this nature and will take steps to identify and bring those individuals responsible to justice.”
Please remember that:
· Police officers, banks and other organisations such as HMRC will never call people in this way and ask you to withdraw money or disclose personal or financial information. If someone does do this, please hang up – it will be a scam.
· If someone calls claiming to be a police officer, ask for their ID number and police force. Wait at least five minutes before calling back. A genuine police officer will not mind waiting while you check.
· Never hand money or your bank card/pin to someone at the door to be sent off elsewhere.
· If you are a friend, relative or carer of someone you think might be vulnerable to this type of scam, please speak to them about this advice. You might be the only person who can stop them from being scammed.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, report it to us by calling 101. If a crime is in progress, dial 999.
You can make yourself aware of this type of scam and how to protect yourself by visiting the Action Fraud website (https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/) or by calling them on 0300 123 2040.