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West Mercia Police Notice


Courier Fraud - We are continually urging people to be vigilant

Courier fraud is where fraudsters call someone, pretending to be a police officer or bank official, warning that there are corrupt bank staff, intent on stealing their money, and ask for their help. Typically, the caller then tells the victim to withdraw a sum of money and a courier is sent to collect it.

Police forces across the country have been cracking down on criminals who commit courier fraud, with a combination of awareness raising and enforcement activity co-ordinated by the City of London Police.

This is the first phase of activity as part of the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) led operation to combat fraud, Operation Otello. City of London Police has co-ordinated the courier fraud activity, Operation Radium, across all 43 police forces in England and Wales, and with colleagues from nine police forces, 44 arrests have been made since November 2019.

The culmination of the campaign was three weeks’ worth of operational activity across London, with 24 people arrested and 18 premises searched. These were joint operations between the City of London Police and Kent Police, West Mercia Police, Hertfordshire Police, Dorset Police and the DCPCU (Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit).

This is a despicable crime in which fraudsters specifically target older people, by exploiting their trust in the police and their bank, to bleed them dry. Courier fraudsters are nearly always part of broader criminal gangs: they are persuasive and can be aggressive. This can be particularly intimidating when they turn up on a victim’s doorstep.

Courier fraud was selected to be the first of the operations under Operation Otello because of the impact on predominantly vulnerable victims:

  • Over the past two years there have been 3,188 victims of courier fraud; numbers have risen sharply in the last six months.
  • This equates to losses of over £12m.
  • Victims are most likely to be women aged over 80.
  • In October 2019 one loss through courier fraud was £975,445, reported in Dorset. Other large losses have been £400,000 to a 74 year old victim and £190,000 to an 80 year old victim (both reported in November 2019).

  • WATCH THE VIDEO: What is courier fraud?

    To view more details visit the Action Fraud website and also keep up to date with the latest scams.

    Date: 24/02/2020

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