19 June 2024

Courier fraudsters most likely to target people in their 80s

Wiltshire Police are urging pensioners to be vigilant as data has revealed more than £252,000 was lost to courier fraud over the last year in Wiltshire.

Data from Action Fraud shows that criminals carrying out courier fraud are most likely to target people in their 80s, with this age range accounting for 43% of all victims.

Courier fraud occurs when people are contacted by someone purporting to be a police officer or bank official and duped into handing over money, valuables, or bank cards, which are collected from their home address, often by couriers. The criminals use a variety of different tactics, often claiming that there is a problem with their account and that they need your help to catch the real criminals.

The victim may also be encouraged to hand over their bank cards and PINs, as well as high-value items such as jewellery, watches, and gold (coins or bullion). Victims can also be coerced into going out and buying items such as gold and jewellery from legitimate retailers on behalf of criminals.

Of all national reports, 63% of victims were female, and 37% were male, with an average loss per victim of £20,032.

Detective Constable Fraud Protect Officer, Rachel Davies, explains: “We’re seeing consistent cases of courier fraud around the county in a variety of locations and unfortunately the victims are often the elderly. This is such a nasty crime which can have devastating psychological effects and significant financial loss.

“Many victims live alone and suffer age-related illnesses, so we’d like families, friends and neighbours to keep vigilant and help protect any vulnerable people in their lives.

Fraudsters prey on elderly people by cold calling landlines or posing as police officers and bank officials. We need to get the message out we’d never cold call or ask anyone to share bank details or move assets to aid investigations or for any other reason.”

If you or someone you know is being asked to withdraw money by the bank or the police, report it immediately by calling 999 or online at www.wiltshire.police.uk

If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call on 0300 123 2040. 

Written by
Andy Munns
View all articles
Written by Andy Munns