More than £200K lost to ‘courier fraud’ in Norfolk last year with pensioners the worst hit

More than £200,000 has been lost to ‘courier fraud’ in Norfolk and pensioners are some of the worst affected, latest data shows.

New data released from the City of London Police shows that people aged 70 and over lost more than £12.6 million to courier fraud last year in the UK.

Photo: Joe Bunker

Norfolk saw 39 reports made to Action Fraud (the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime) with people in the county losing a total of £206,680.

Courier fraud is a type of scam where fraudsters pose as officials, often as bank employees or police officers, and phone or email their potential victims to try and make them hand over money or other expensive items.

What makes courier fraud different, is the fraudsters often go to their property in-person after the call to try and substantiate their claims. They can even confirm details over the phone including their potential victims full name and address.

Moments away from being scammed

Anna Mayne, a pensioner in Norwich told UEA Journalism how a fellow church-goer she knew was only moments away from being scammed.

She said, “I know one person from church, and she would give anything to anybody… she got one of these scams, to say a member of our congregation is desperate in some place abroad, and would she send £500 desperately.”

“She was in the bank actually getting the money moved, and the bank just said to her no, this is a scam. It’s so easy {to fall victim to these scams] if you’re not on the ball.”

Mrs Brown, a pensioner from Scotland, told UEA Journalism how her friend lost hundreds of pounds to a computer scam.

She said, “she got a message to say there was an issue with her computer, so she logged on, and [was told] you need to do this and you need to do that, and it ended up costing her a few hundred pounds – I think it made her more aware.”

People aged over 70 are the most likely to be victims of this type of fraud. In fact the data showed that in the last year there were a total of 1,847 reported incidents of courier fraud with 1,587 of them being over the age of 70.

What are the police in Norfolk doing?

Speaking to UEA Journalism, Insp Craig Bidwell from Norfolk Constabulary said: “Action Fraud’s latest figures illustrate how impactful courier fraud can be, with some victims losing thousands of pounds.”

Photo: Joe Bunker

“Working in partnership with colleagues in law enforcement across the UK, the Norfolk Police Digital Investigations Team review all reported courier frauds to identify lines of enquiry to pursue offenders.”

“However, we can all reduce the likelihood of our friends and family being victim of these types of scam by sharing knowledge about current scams and by regularly checking in with those likely to be vulnerable to this type of crime.”

“It is important to note, that the Police will never contact someone and ask for them to withdraw money or purchase items. If someone has called you, claiming to be a police officer and asks you to do this, it is a scam.”

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