Boston Borough Council is warning residents that courier fraudsters are operating in the town after an elderly couple were conned into parting with £6,000 from their savings.
Courier Fraud is a scam where criminals pretend to be the police or the victim’s bank, tricking victims into providing banking details, withdrawing cash, or purchasing expensive items. The money or items are then handed over to strangers (known as couriers) who are posing as police or bank workers who come and collect directly from the victims.
Sadly, a couple in their 70s and 80s who are relatives of a Boston Borough Council worker, were scammed earlier this month.
It started with a telephone call from a fraudster posing to be an officer from the Met Police. The man informed them that their bank account had been targeted and they needed to act quickly to protect their money.
The scam was so sophisticated, the criminals had every step planned out and even told the couple what to say at the bank if they were questioned about the reason for the large cash withdrawal.
The couple, who are trusting to anyone in authority, did exactly what they were told to do, including handing the money to a man who turned up at prearranged time and date who gave them a key phrase and name so they could trust the person who would be knocking at their door.
Peter Hunn, the council’s community safety manager, said: “The victims have been left deeply saddened, distressed, and feeling vulnerable following this crime. Fraud can have devastating effects on victims. It is not just the loss of money, it can leave people who once were trusting of others in authority, deeply affected emotionally and for some the effects can be felt for a long time.
“These scammers often work as criminal gangs who use the profits to fund serious organised crime. And anyone can fall victim to fraud. The criminals operate in a way where they are extremely convincing and even the most trusting of people, as we have seen with this case, can sadly be taken in by the professional scam tactics they use to get honest and law-abiding people to part with their money.
“If you think you have been a victim of fraud, contact the police and your bank immediately. It’s important that as much information is shared about these crimes and the tactics used to help raise awareness and prevent others from becoming victims.
“For advice and more information on how to report fraud, visit the Action Fraud website – https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/”
This incident was reported to Lincolnshire Police and while it is unlikely the couple will not receive their money back due to it being a cash fraud, their bank has been very supportive and understanding.
According to Crimestoppers, around 60 per cent of victims are over 70, and whilst the average loss per person is around £5,000, the highest single report last year was £640,000.
Crimestoppers has launched a new campaign to drive people to report what they know about the criminals behind courier fraud by using a unique anonymous reporting service – https://crimestoppers-uk.org/campaigns-media/campaigns/calling-out-courier-fraud
Lincolnshire Police also has advice on door-to-door scams and courier fraud on its website – https://www.lincs.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/personal-fraud/door-to-door-courier-fraud/