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Telephone Scams & Courier Fraud

Increasingly fraud is becoming more complex and deceptive, much of which is targeted at vulnerable and elderly people.

The impact of fraud on victims is not only financial. The emotional impact is significant and includes guilt, misplaced trust and diminished confidence, which can have detrimental effects on the physical and mental health of the victim, as well as increased social isolation.

Fraud can be initiated in many ways, through emails, letters, telephone calls and face to face contact. Fraudsters want money and will do and say anything they can to con victims out of it. They attempt to trick people with flashy, official looking documents, websites and technical jargon, with the sole purpose of financial gain.

A comprehensive guide on fraud prevention, explaining some of the most common scams in existence, ranging from the simple to the sophisticated, providing essential advice to reduce the chances of you being parted from your money, can be found below.

The booklet, The Little Book of Big Scams, is primarily aimed at the elderly and vulnerable in society as they are particularly at risk; but anyone who reads it will benefit. People from all backgrounds and income levels are targeted by scammers - anyone can fall victim to fraud.

The guide was launched by the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) alongside Esther Rantzen and Gary Fitzgerald, (CEO of Action on Elder Abuse) and can be viewed here.



Telephone and Courier Fraud

Fraudsters try to trick people out of their money by telephoning them pretending to be from a well-known company or service.

They often seem very genuine and trustworthy. Before they contact you they already know your name, your date of birth, your address and a whole host of personal information they can reel off as a way to show their sincerity.

They use well-rehearsed stories, designed to gain trust, for example pretending to be from a phone or computer service provider and claiming that there is a problem with your system that they need to fix.

Just remember:

  • Be aware. Always verify the legitimacy of a caller by contacting the company they are claiming to be from using the contact number published on utility bills or official correspondence
  • Don’t be afraid to just hang up
  • NEVER give personal information, such as your date of birth or bank details to anyone. This includes typing your PIN into the handset
  • If you are asked to make payment over the phone for something always confirm the caller’s identity first

NEVER allow an unexpected caller to talk you through processes on your computer, like downloading new software or accessing your online bank account.

Courier fraud is becoming more established and sophisticated. Usually the elderly are targeted by fraudsters.

Often a fraudster makes contact via telephone claiming to be from your bank or the police. They tell a story about a fraudulent payment that has been spotted on your card and needs resolving, or that someone has been arrested using your details and cards.

You may be asked to ring back using the phone number on the back of your card. This further convinces you that the call is genuine. However, the caller keeps the line open at their end so, when you make the call, you are unknowingly connected straight back to them or their friends.

They will ask you for your PIN number or sometimes ask you to key it into your phone’s handset.

The scammer then sends a courier or taxi to pick up your card from your home. It is possible the driver does not know they are being used as part of the scam.

Once they have your card and PIN the scammer can then spend your money.


  • Your bank will never send a courier to your home
  • No one from your bank or police will ever collect your bank card
  • Your bank and the police will never ask for your PIN
  • If you receive one of these calls hang up immediately

Taxi company owners and staff should be vigilant, especially if approached or asked to courier small packages to London on behalf of elderly people. If you are ever asked to do this please note all details of the delivery and contact Dorset Police on 101 or online here.

Banks and other financial institutions, in particular counter staff, are trained to be suspicious of elderly customers uncharacteristically drawing large amounts of cash. Their protocol is to query this to help protect you and your loved ones.

Please help us to help you.

  • Never send or give money to anyone you don't know or trust
  • Never share your personal or financial information with anyone
  • If you are asked to make payment over the phone for something always confirm the caller’s identity first using the contact number published on utility bills or in the telephone directory
  • Never feel rushed into making a decision

 If you are at all concerned, hang up and phone a relative or a friend.

 Keep an eye on scams affecting Dorset here and please tell your friends and family.

Report all incidents of fraud and scams to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or make a report online here.