Warning issued following recent reports of courier fraud in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight

Police are urging residents in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to remain vigilant following six reports of courier fraud since January – with one woman losing almost £17,000.

This type of fraud typically sees a victim receive an unexpected call from someone who pretends to be a police officer, a staff member from their local bank, or an employee from an internet or phone provider.

They then tell the victim that their account has been subject to fraudulent activity and then request that the victim helps with the ongoing investigation.  Victims are usually asked for details about their financial accounts before being sent to their bank to withdraw money. They are then told to hand over money or an expensive item to a fraudulent courier, who will typically come to their home to collect it. Although this is still a common ploy for fraudsters, recent reports suggest they are making a more direct approach and are telling victims they have been scammed, or that their cards have expired.  The fraudsters then send couriers to collect bank cards from victims and ask for PIN numbers and if they can hand over any relevant items, such as mobile phones.

Since the beginning of 2024, officers have received six reports of courier fraud, with five cases being reported in the last month. The total loss is approximately £70,000. One victim was scammed out of almost £17,000.

Officers are urging people to not engage with these type of calls. Victims are typically elderly and officers are asking anyone with an elderly relative, loved one, friend or associate to please make them aware of this scam.

Some recent examples of reports include:

On 19 February, we received a report that a man in 70s from Fareham had been scammed out of more than £2,300 after he was contacted by someone claiming to be from a bank who said he had been the victim of fraud.  He received a number of calls on WhatsApp and was told someone from their fraud team would come to his home address and collect his bank cards.  Between 12 February and 18 February, £2,341 was withdrawn from his account.

Meanwhile, on 2 March, we received a report that a woman in her 80s from Eastleigh was scammed out of £16,900 after she was contacted by someone pretending to be from her bank’s fraud team.

She was told that she had been scammed and she needed to hand over her bank cards and mobile phone so they could resolve the issue.  A courier then attended her home address to collect her bank cards, PIN numbers and mobile phone.  She was told to not reveal the original ‘scam’ to anyone and that she shouldn’t leave her address. The fraudsters also said she should be available to take calls from them so they could provide her with updates.  Between 29 February and 2 March, a total of £16,900 was withdrawn from locations including Eastleigh and London.

Both victims are being supported by officers and our detectives are investigating the incidents and our enquiries are ongoing.

Detective Constable Michael Dumbleton, from the Economic Crime Unit, said: “These fraudsters are heartless individuals who prey on some of the most vulnerable people living in our area.

“The scammers will constantly look at new ways to get money from people and it seems they are taking a more direct approach by telling elderly victims they have been scammed, or that their cards have expired.  The suspects then withdraw a lot of cash and make high value purchases in electronic or designer clothing stores.

“Victims of courier fraud can be any age, but the victims in the incidents currently being investigated range from 67 and 99 years old. I urge anyone who has an elderly relative to make them aware of this type of fraud as soon as possible. These incidents can often have a huge impact on victims as they come to terms with the fact they have fallen for a scam, and the financial losses that come with it.

“We do not want anyone to fall victim to these scammers and we are taking steps to inform residents of courier fraud; so that they are aware of this type of contact and can avoid becoming a victim.  Please remember that banks, police or other officials will NOT contact people in this way and will NOT request them to hand over bank cards, PIN details, cash or other valuables.

“If anyone receives a call of this nature, they should not engage with the caller and hang up. We are wholly committed to investigating offences of this nature and will take steps to identify and bring those individuals responsible to justice.”

Please remember that:

  • Police officers, banks and other organisations such as HMRC will never call people in this way and ask you to withdraw money or disclose personal or financial information. If someone does do this, please hang up – it will be a scam.
  • If someone calls claiming to be a police officer, ask for their ID number and police force. Wait at least five minutes before verifying details with the appropriate Force by calling 101 – do not use any number they provide unless you can confirm it as genuine. Ensure the call has disconnected as scammers will often leave the line open or use another phone altogether. A genuine police officer will not mind waiting while you check their identity (it’s a sign that it is a scam if the person becomes pushy or stresses urgency).
  • Take a step back from everything and take a few moments to think. Speak to a trusted friend or relative for their opinion before agreeing to anything. The fraudster’s tactic is often to keep the victim busy talking and isolated. They stress that they should not tell anyone else about the call.
  • Your bank or the police will never send a courier to your home to collect cash, bank cards, PINs or other valuable goods.
  • If you are a friend, relative or carer of someone you think might be vulnerable to this type of scam, please speak to them about this advice. You might be the only person who can stop them from being scammed.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, report it to us by calling 101. If a crime is in progress, dial 999.

You can make yourself aware of this type of scam and how to protect yourself by visiting the Action Fraud website (https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/) or by calling them on 0300 123 2040.