Published on 4th September 2020

Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner is continuing to warn the public after a spate of courier fraud scams have left Cheshire victims without thousands of pounds.

In July, a warning was issued regarding courier fraud however since then, detectives have continued to see residents falling foul to fraudsters.

Courier frauds are mainly committed by organised crime groups (OCGs) and a member of the OCG, known as the ‘victim communicator’, makes a phone call to vulnerable potential victims, persuading them that they are a police officer or work at the bank.

They then manage to get the victim to cooperate with an ‘operation’ designed to gather evidence or identify offenders responsible for a fictional offence.

The victims are asked to withdraw money from their bank, purchase an expensive item and/or provide their bank details or card to assist with the operation.

Money, items or documents are then handed over to the ‘courier’, who attends the victim’s address or meets them nearby, on the promise that the money or item will be returned or compensation will be provided.

Sadly, no compensation is provided and the money will not be returned. Leaving victims, in some cases, out of pocket of thousands of pounds.

Police and crime commissioner David Keane said: “I am greatly concerned about the re-emerging trend of courier fraud cases across Cheshire.

“The fact that these fraudsters will stop at nothing for their own criminal gain and continue to blight the vulnerable in our communities is deplorable.

“I know that the Economic Crime Unit is working hard to make residents aware of these scams while narrowing down on the fraudsters who believe they can get away with these crimes.”

Detective sergeant Chris Jacques from Cheshire Constabulary’s economic crime unit said: “It is particularly concerning that we are continuing to see spikes in the number of courier fraud scams targeting the most vulnerable in our communities.

“These scammers will stop at nothing to make a criminal gain and can be extremely convincing and very persistent.

“By using these methods they can often blindside their victims into believing them, before taking hard-earned money.

“It is important for the public to remember that police officers, banks and other services will never ask you to withdraw money or provide card details over the phone.

“Telephone numbers can be easily spoofed and you should never trust a number displayed on your telephone.

“Another concerning trend is that scammers have been asking victims to call back on 999, 101 or 162 to verify that they are genuine.

“This is part of the scam and they keep the line open so that the victim continues speak with the scammers believing that they are genuine officials.

“Anyone who is receiving calls asking for money to be withdrawn and handed over to a courier should call 101 or report it to Action Fraud.”

Anyone who believes they have been contacted fraudulently or have been a victim of fraud should call Cheshire Police on 101 and Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Information can also be reported online to: https://www.cheshire.police.uk/ro/report/