Rise in courier fraud sees elderly resident targeted with scam delivery and HSBC messages
With Christmas just weeks away a warning has been issued following a rise in courier fraud in north Wales – including an elaborate scam targeting an elderly member of the public.
As more and more people opt to shop online, fraudsters have been targeting members of the public by claiming to be from their bank,
the police or other law enforcement authority.
In many instances the scammers call their victim – often the elderly and vulnerable – and con them into revealing their PIN and credit or debit card details.
The most recent incident of courier fraud saw a north Wales resident initially receive an email purporting to be ‘DPD’ advising them that they needed to pay £3 delivery charge for a parcel.
Believing this was genuine, the victim replied with their full card details.
This was followed by another scam call from someone purporting to be from ‘HSBC’, advising them that fraudulent activity had been identified on their account.
The scammers told the victim to place their bank cards and pin numbers in a box, and they would arrange for them to be collected.
Thinking this call was legitimate and that they were speaking with their bank, the victim did as the fraudsters requested.
The fraudsters arranged a local taxi to collect the parcel from the victim and deliver to Birmingham. The fraudster making this booking purported the fare to be on behalf of their grandparent.
An upfront fee via the ‘Sum Up’ app was paid by the suspect.
The taxi driver was specifically told not to engage in conversation when they collected the item, as ‘their grandparent’ was hard of hearing and very conscious of covid.
Luckily the vigilant taxi driver became suspicious and intervened after realising it was a scam.
The parcel he was to collect contained the victims bank cards and pin numbers, which easily could have got in the hands of the fraudsters.
The advance fee taxi fare had in fact been paid using the victim’s bank card details which the taxi driver kindly reversed the payment on, ensuring the victim wasn’t at a financial loss.
North Wales Police Financial Abuse safeguarding team have now issued advice to protect people from scams, particularly in the run-up to Christmas:
- End cold calls quickly and speak to a trusted friend or member of the family for their advice on how to deal with the matter.
- If a victim wants to call their bank using the number on their bank cards, they should leave a bit of time before doing so and ensure there is a dialling tone.
- Fraudsters will often act with urgency to make their victims panic and make decisions without thinking about it.
Innocent taxi drivers are used by criminals as a way of ‘distancing themselves’ from the crime while making it harder for police to find and detect them.
Without their unknowing cooperation, criminals could find it much harder to carry out courier fraud.
North Wales Police are appealing to taxi drivers who are asked to collect parcels – especially from the elderly – to be vigilant and contact us if they are suspicious. Advice to taxi drivers includes:
- If something doesn’t sit well with you when you’re asked to pick up a credit/debit card or a parcel from a private home, you should make your suspicions known – to your employer if you work for a taxi company, and to the police.
- In this recent case the taxi driver has stopped the victim from potentially losing large sums of money.
- With Christmas coming, please advise your elderly or vulnerable relatives and friends to be extra vigilant against the threat from Courier Fraud.
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