Police visiting Covid-19 vaccine sites to raise awareness of courier fraud targeting the elderly
By Bethany Winter | 2nd February 2021
Officers from Gloucestershire Constabulary have been raising awareness of courier fraud scams targeting the older generation.
Over recent months there have been a number of spates of courier fraud related scams and officers have recently been raising awareness of this at Coronavirus vaccine sites across Gloucestershire.
Courier Fraud sees criminals, posing as police officers, call victims and ask them to help a "covert operation" by withdrawing cash from their bank, which the fraudsters say is counterfeit.
A fake "police courier" is then sent to the victims home to collect the cash and the fraudsters tell the victim that the funds will be credited back into their bank account, but this does not happen.
Victims are often asked to return to the bank and withdraw more cash, with the scam going on for days at a time. In 2020, the average victim of courier fraud in Gloucestershire was 80 years old and lost £9,800.
Other scams include individuals posing as HMRC and NHS employees who ask victims to make bank transfers to rectify issues with their National Insurance or book in for a Coronavirus vaccination.
Neighbourhood and Local Policing officers have been proactively raising awareness by providing 1,000 leaflets to staff at each of the 13 vaccination sites across the country which are then handed out to ensure that the older generation are aware of the signs to look out for and can prevent themselves from becoming a victim of fraud.
This work falls within the Police and Crime Commissioner's priority of 'Older but not overlooked' and officers are asking that warnings of courier fraud scams are shared with elderly relatives, friends and neighbours so that they can be alert and further protect themselves.
Detective Sergeant Simon Shaw from the Economic Crime Team said: "Crime groups who use this methodology will target landline telephone numbers, most commonly used by the older members of our community.
"Gloucestershire Constabulary has developed digital platforms for crime prevention messaging, but where appropriate we supplement this with the use of printed material.
"The older generation can be harder to reach, and we are pleased to be working with NHS partners at Coronavirus vaccination sites, to protect the older generation from crime as well as from the virus."
If you think yourself or someone you know has fallen victim to courier fraud please report it to police or Action Fraud as soon as possible.
More information on reporting fraud can be found by visiting this following website: https://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/useful-contacts-for-fraud-cyber-crime-advice/
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