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Vulnerable people targeted by fraud gangs

In the last few days, more attempts to defraud people have been reported to the police, with some victims handing over thousands of pounds. West Mercia Police are aware that criminals, pretending to be police officers are targeting people in Shropshire and North Worcestershire in a scam known as ‘Courier Fraud’. Again, the victims are elderly and vulnerable people.

Detective Inspector Emma Wright said: “Sadly, these predators are again targeting vulnerable people who may not have seen the news recently or aware of media and police reports about this scam.

“I urge everyone who has elderly or vulnerable relatives to please give them call, call over the fence to their neighbour or remind them if they pop into your shop that the police will never, ever, call you and instruct you to withdraw your cash. No officer will ever ask for you to travel to a bank and hand over your money as part of an investigation, if a loved one is in custody or if your account has been compromised. These are all lies.

“These criminals are significant members of organised crime gangs with the confidence and the experience to be very convincing and ‘Courier Fraud’ is just one element of their criminal activities. But we can defeat them in one simple act: hanging up the phone. No police officer will telephone your granny, your dad or you and ask for your money. They are lying, they are criminals and you can beat them by ending the call.

“So please, tell anyone you think needs to know, that no police officer from any force or department will ever ask you to hand over money or transfer funds, regardless of their name or unit. If you work in a bank, you can help us by using the Banking Protocol and preventing vulnerable people who potential victims of fraud from withdrawing large amounts of cash to hand over to couriers in these scams. Please alert us if you suspect a vulnerable person is withdrawing cash for this purpose, so we can check they are not a victim. I would like to reassure people in Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford and Worcestershire that we are investigating these crimes and these gangs and want to hear from anyone who has been contacted in this way”

“If the crime is still in progress, because for example, you have recently provided bank details or handed over cards or cash or are going to visit your bank or the caller has arranged for someone to visit your address to collect items, you should call the police to report this on 101. In an emergency dial 999.”

“Please remember the police will never contact you asking for your bank card, details, cash or ask you to go to a bank to withdraw cash. If someone does, it’s a scam – provide no details and hand nothing over, hang up, wait ten minutes then call 101.”