DETECTIVES have issued an urgent warning to the public after a recent spate in telephone scams which has cost vulnerable victims thousands of pounds.
Officers are continuing to see cases of courier fraud, this scam is mainly committed by organised crime groups (OCGs).
A member of the OCG, known as the ‘victim communicator’, makes a phone call to vulnerable victims telling them that they are a police officer or work at a bank.
They persuade the victim to co-operate with an ‘operation’ designed to gather evidence or identify offenders responsible for fictional offences.
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 address of the victim or meets them nearby, on the promise that the money or item will be returned or compensation provided.
Cheshire Constabulary are now urging others to be aware of these scams and alert vulnerable neighbours or family.
Detective Sergeant Chris Jacques from Cheshire Constabulary’s Economic Crime Unit said: “These fraudsters are extremely convincing and can be very persistent especially when targeting vulnerable victims.
“Police officers, banks and other such services will never ask you to withdraw money or provide card details so please do not be taken in by these scams.
“It is important to remember that telephone numbers can be easily spoofed and you should never trust a number displayed on your telephone.
“They may also attempt to ask victims to call back on 999, 101 or 161 to verify that they are genuine but 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“Anyone who is receiving calls asking for money to be withdrawn and handed over to a courier should call 101 or report it to Action Fraud.”
Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane said: “It is quite concerning that there have been more cases of fraud across Cheshire.
“Fraudsters will stop at nothing for their own criminal gain and I know that the force will continue to crackdown on the mindless scammers and do everything in their power to bring them to justice.
“I am urging residents to continue to inform family and friends about these callous scams to ensure that no-one else falls victim.”
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.