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Police warning over courier fraud incidents

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Gloucestershire Police is urging people to be vigilant after fraudsters posing as police officers have been calling residents to try and obtain money.

Five people living within the Cirencester dialling code area, 01285, were targeted by scammers last month.

On each occasion the fraudster claimed to be a police officer from Cirencester police station and said they were calling to notify the victim that their credit card had been cloned and used at a local supermarket.

They asked each victim to hang up and immediately dial 999 to speak to their fraud department.

This is part of the scam as the phone line is kept open and the victim ends up talking to another fraudster who is also involved in the con. 

One of the victims was asked to go to their bank and withdraw cash, and when they asked why, they were told that it would enable the police to catch the people who were stealing from them.

In similar cases where people have been asked to withdraw money by scammers, the cash is then collected by a fake police courier on the victim’s doorstep, or the victim is asked to send it to an address via post.

In other incidents, victims have been instructed to transfer funds into a fake police bank account.

In all five of the incidents reported on Monday, no money was handed over to the conmen and the police were informed.

Fraudsters are manipulative and victims are often told to not tell their friends or family that they are “helping” with the investigation.

This type of scam is known as courier fraud, and the average age of a victim of this crime in Gloucestershire is 79.

Police have urged people to warn their elderly or vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours about this type of fraud.

  • If you believe you are being targeted by a scammer hang up the phone and use a different phone line to call Action Fraud or the police, as scammers have a way to stay on the line and will pretend to be the police when you call back
  • If you don’t have access to a different phone line, wait for a period of time, at least 10 minutes, and try calling a family member or friend first to make sure the scammer is no longer on the line
  • Neither police nor bank officials will ever ask you to withdraw money from your account, purchase anything or hand over your personal details or passwords
  • Just because someone knows basic details about you like your name, address or date of birth, it doesn’t mean they are genuine bank or police employees
  • Always question suspicious phone calls and report them to Action Fraud or the police.

For further advice on keeping yourself safe from fraud, visit the Constabulary’s website: https://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/

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