Six arrested after dawn raids linked to courier scam
Eight addresses in Croydon and one address in Sutton were raided yesterday as part of an investigation into courier frauds.
Six people were arrested yesterday afternoon on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud, after a series of courier frauds this year in Croydon, Sussex and Surrey.
The five men and one woman who are aged between 19 and 24-years-old currently remain in police custody at a south London police station.
Mobile phones, cash and various electrical items were seized by officers during the raids, which were carried out from 6.30am yesterday morning.
The fraud works by the suspect telephoning the victim and claiming to be someone from an authority, usually the police, bank or Serious Fraud Office.
They tell the victim their bank account has been compromised and their card must be collected, before instructing them to hang up and call the police, bank, Serious Fraud Office on a genuine number to check they are who they say they are.
The victim dials the new number but unknown to them the fraudster does not disconnect so they are still speaking to the suspect or a co-conspirator.
The fraudster then convinces the victim to reveal their PIN, usually by typing it in on their keypad and the suspect is able to tell which keys have been pressed.
The victim is then instructed to put their bank card in an envelope and an accomplice purporting to be a courier, is sent to the victim's house to collect it.
The cards are then either delivered to another suspect or used immediately to buy items at shops or obtain cash from ATM machines; though on some occasions victims have been driven to a bank and instructed to empty their bank account.
In a recent case in Croydon a family were conned into giving away £14,000 of jewellery and £2000 cash to courier fraudsters who had used this method to convince them they were police officers, who told them they should hand over the items as they had information their house was going to be targeted by burglars.
In another case an elderly male victim was driven to his bank over two days and deceived into withdrawing £15,000 of his life savings and handing it over to a 'courier'.
Detective Inspector Simon Harding of Croydon CID said: ""This fraud can be extremely convincing because the victim thinks they are really dealing with police or their bank.
"They believe that by making the phone call back, it is genuine, but in actual fact the suspects have stayed on the line the whole time.
"It is absolutely vital that people make their elderly and vulnerable family, friends and neighbours aware of this scam and that under no circumstances should they ever give their PIN or their bank cards to anybody. Banks do not recall cards in this way and neither do police.
"We are working hard to identify and bring those responsible to justice and today's activity is part of this.
"In the meantime we are asking all residents to make sure they don't fall foul and that they also let their elderly and vulnerable friends and family know."
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