Police urge caution after £10,000 con trick on OAP

Detective Sergeant James Bonner
Detective Sergeant James Bonner

A Detective Sergeant is urging people to be aware of courier fraud after a Banbury man in his 80s was conned out of £10,000.

Det Sgt James Bonner, of Banbury CID, said there has been a re-emergence of the crime in the town, with three failed attempts and one successful so far in 2015.

He said: “This type of crime is sickening and deliberately targets the elderly and vulnerable members of our community, who are often duped into handing over their life savings to these criminals.”

The Bretch Hill victim was contacted last Thursday by a man claiming to be a detective inspector at Leighton Buzzard police station. He was told his card had been cloned and had been used to buy items totaling £3,700.

The next day the fraudster phoned stating that counterfeit money had been put into his accounts as part of the investigation. The victim was asked to withdraw £5,000 from two accounts before a courier picked up the £10,000 from his house later in the day.

Courier fraud normally involves vulnerable members of the public receiving a phone call from the fraudster, who claims to be from the police or the victim’s bank, stating that there has been fraudulent activity on the victim’s account.

The victim may then be asked to ring the bank or police back on a genuine number but the line is kept open so they are connected straight back to the fraudster.

The most common next step is a request for the victim to assist the police investigation by withdrawing a large sum of money from their bank and taking it home. A courier will then collect the package containing the cash. These couriers are normally unwitting taxi drivers or companies asked by the fraudster to collect the package.

Mr Bonner added: “It is vital that members of the public are aware of this re-emerging scam to prevent further victims. Police officers or banks will never ask you to withdraw cash or hand over cards and PIN numbers. If you or elderly family members receive these types of call, immediately report it to your local police station, ideally in person.”