THREE elderly victims have been conned out of more than £60,000 by fraudsters posing as police officers and bank workers.

Cheshire Police has issued the urgent warning after a spate of incidents across the county – including in Alderley Edge where one victim lost £20,000 cash and the same again in goods.

Two Crewe victims parted with £10,000 each, mistakenly believing they were assisting police officers, while a Congleton victim had a narrow escape.

So-called courier frauds are mainly committed by organised crime groups (OCGs).

An OCG member known as the ‘victim communicator’ makes phone calls to vulnerable potential victims, usually the more elderly members of the community, telling them they are a police officer or work at the bank.

They persuade the victim to cooperate with an ‘operation’ designed to gather evidence or identify offenders responsible for a fictional offence.

The victims are asked to withdraw money from their bank, purchase an expensive item and/or provide their bank details or card to assist with the operation.

Winsford Guardian:

The money, item or documents are handed over to another member of the gang, the ‘courier’, who attends the victim’s address or meets them nearby, on the promise that the money or item will be returned or compensation provided.

As well as those who have been tricked, five further cases over the past month have seen potential victims recognise the scam in progress and inform police.

DS Chris Jacques from Cheshire Constabulary’s economic crime unit said: “Nationally, courier fraud is a growing problem with over 1000 offences committed in the last six months.

"A national awareness campaign is being launched this week to target offenders, which we will be supporting.

“I would strongly urge anyone receiving calls asking for money to be withdrawn and handed over to a courier to immediately phone the police on 101 or report the incident to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

"Police, banks or other such services don’t cold call so, if you do receive a phone call purporting to be from one of these organisations, don’t be taken in by what they say. They are not genuine.”

Officers have issued the below advice on how to spot and avoid courier fraud:

  • Police officers, banks or other such organisations will never ask you for cash or your bank details.
  • If you do receive a potential courier fraud call us on 101 or report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
  • If someone is trying to rush you into doing something regarding your bank account it is likely they are involved in a scam.
  • Do you bank with one particular bank but the person on the phone is talking about a different one? Even if they do have the right bank, it doesn’t mean it is legitimate.