British law enforcement authorities are investigating hundreds of cases of courier fraud. The West Midlands Police have announced that a total of ten properties have been raided and four people have been arrested for allegedly being involved in such operations.
The Economic Crime Unit of the West Midlands Police has searched properties in Kings Norton, Perry Barr, Kitts Green, Washwood Heath, Aston, Nechells, and Wednesbury. Another location has been raided in London.
The arrested individuals are all men. They’re aged 18, 19, 20 and 58.
West Midlands Police say the number of courier fraud crimes has increased considerably over the past period. Over 100 cases have been reported in this region alone in 2014.
Fraudsters involved in such schemes call up potential victims, usually senior citizens, and claim to be police officers. The targets are told a story about why they need to hand over their payment card to a courier that’s about to pass by.
If victims try to call their bank to verify the claims, they end up speaking with the crooks again. That’s because the scammers don’t hang up after the call ends, leaving the line open.
“The action we’ve taken over the last 24 hours has been the result of extensive enquiries; we’re hoping it will seriously disrupt these networks who seek to exploit vulnerable members of our community,” said Detective Chief Inspector Adrian Atherley, from the West Midlands ECU.
“The people responsible for committing these crimes are cold, calculated thieves; their tactic is to scare and confuse elderly people into handing over sensitive information – but the police and banks will never ask for your PIN over the phone, so you should always put down the receiver straight away,” Atherley added.
“Despite today’s arrests, it is vital people remain vigilant to this scam, so if you’ve got elderly relatives, friends or neighbours please remind them never to disclose bank details or hand over cards to anyone.”
The police advise people to be on the lookout for such scammers.
“The consequences for innocent members of the public who fall victim to these fraudsters can be terrible, so it is absolutely vital people do not give their bank details or cards to anyone,” said Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fyfe, head of the London Regional Fraud Team.
“Vigilance, coupled with enforcement action being taken by the West Midlands Economic Crime Unit and the London Regional Fraud Team is the best way to confront this scam now and in the future.”