Scammers targeting Salisbury residents in ‘courier fraud’ calls

FRAUDSTERS pretending to be police officers are targeting Salisbury residents.

Wiltshire Police have warned households amid a rise in ‘courier fraud’, which occurs when a fraudster contacts victims by telephone pretending to be a police officer or bank official.

To gain a victim’s trust, the caller might be able to confirm some easily obtainable personal details such as their full name and address.

They then might suggest money has been removed from their account by mistake, police need money for evidence or even need the victim to purchase an item of high price ‘evidence’.

The victim is told to withdraw a large amount of money and the cash is picked up later by a courier to “check for fingerprints or to identify counterfeit bank notes”.

Alternatively, the victim may be asked to package the cash up and send it by post to an address provided by the fraudster.

Often a password is provided, which will then be provided on collection of the money.

The fraudsters will remain on the phone line throughout the entire duration of their ‘investigation’ either on the victims mobile phone or on their landline number at home.

Wiltshire Police said it had received nine reports of such crimes in the last six days.

Often the fraudster is pretending to be from the ‘the Flying Squad, The Met Police, or from Bourne Hill Police station’.

The caller will often advise the victim to call 999 to confirm the details to the police, but they stay on the line and have someone else pretending to be in the call centre, police said.

If you suspect you have been targeted, put the phone down and call the police or your bank from another landline or mobile to check, not the line you were called on, said Inspector Tina Osborn, from the Salisbury Neighbourhood team.

“These fraudsters can be very persuasive and use a variety of tactics to convince you to withdraw cash, transfer money or hand over bank cards,” said Insp Osborn.

“We’ve had one case recently where a fraudster targeted a 90-year-old lady in a phone call that lasted over four hours.

“This shows just how devious these fraudsters are becoming and we are seeing an increasing number of victims who have been emotionally manipulated to lower their defences.

“It is really important people remain vigilant against these cold-hearted crimes. Bank accounts can be emptied in minutes and life savings lost. This places enormous stress on families and ruins people’s lives.

“Victims are typically elderly, as in these cases, and we are asking anyone with an elderly relative, loved one, friend or associate to please make them aware of this type of scam.”

If you have been a victim of this type of crime and money has been lost, report it via 101. If the crime is in progress, call 999.

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