Police operation reveals 28 victims targeted by fraudsters
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Figures have revealed 28 victims were duped out of almost £130,000 last year by fraudsters in North Somerset.
Supported by all 43 forces in England and Wales, City of London Police, the national lead force for fraud and co-ordinaters of Operation Radium, released the statistics after a three-week campaign by the National Economic Crime Centre to raise awareness on how to combat courier fraud.
Courier fraud is where fraudsters call someone, pretending to be a police officer or bank official and warning that there are corrupt bank staff intent on stealing their money, and asking for their help.
In the Avon and Somerset force area, 28 people reported being a victim of this fraud in 2019. This amounted to an estimated £127,224 in losses.
Last year, a taxi driver in North Somerset thwarted a courier fraud incident when he became suspicious when taking a woman to the bank.
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His taxi had been pre-booked - allegedly by the woman's relative - but, after the taxi driver discovered the woman was planning to withdraw a large sum of money when she got to the bank, he became suspicious.
He alerted bank officials, who advised the police, and the large cash withdrawal was stopped.
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Over the past two years, there have been more than 3,000 victims of courier fraud reported nationally, with losses believed to be around £12million.
Victims of this crime are predominantly over 60 years of age, with the most targeted demographic being females aged between 80 and 89 years.
Nationally, since November, 44 people have been arrested on suspicion of courier fraud.
DS Louise Sinclair of Avon and Somerset Police's complex crime unit said: "Victims of courier fraud tend to be elderly, living alone and trusting of the police and other official organisations.
"It is important we all play our part in protecting these vulnerable members of our community, informing them this type of crime is happening and encouraging them to report any attempts of courier fraud - successful or not - to Action Fraud and the police.
"As a force, we have been happy to support Operation Radium and will continue to do all we can to create a hostile environment for would-be fraudsters."