Simon Read: Don't fall prey to courier tricksters


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The Independent Online

There seldom seems a week without another case of courier fraud hitting the headlines. The latest to come to court involves two men in their fifties who lost thousands through a simple scam.

The con is to convince people that the caller – who pretends to be from a bank or the police – is genuine; usually achieved by telling victims to call back using the phone number on the reverse of their bank card or the local cop shop.

But the caller doesn't hang up, which means victims think they're dialling a new number when they're still connected to the crook. Who then – for "security" reasons – demands pin numbers and sends a courier to pick up their plastic cards.

In the latest case, one man from Wembley had £7,000 taken from his account while another, from Twickenham, had more than £4,000 stolen. The crook was jailed for two years last week.

People fall for this scam because they are unaware of the trick or because scamsters are getting more sophisticated. The police say 2,556 courier fraud offences were reported in London alone in the 12 months to the end of March and the crime continues to evolve.

This week police handed out hand out copies of The Little Book of Big Scams, to local banks, which gives details of the fraud.

Raising awareness about it is to be applauded. Download the book at

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