Monthly Message from Fraud Team: Courier Fraud

The City of London Police have run a campaign this month warning the public about courier fraud.

How common is Courier Fraud?

The older generation are a particular target for this type of fraud, with victims over 70 losing £12.6 million last year across the country. Here in Avon and Somerset, we had 60 victims of courier fraud in 2022 with a total loss of £278,000. It’s even more shocking when you consider that only about 20% of fraud is actually reported.


What is Courier Fraud?

Courier fraud involves the victim receiving a call from a fraudster pretending to be from their bank or the police. More commonly, they purport to be a high-ranking police officer, usually from London. They will claim that they need your help with an investigation. This is a long process where a range of lies are told in order to convince the victim that this is a legitimate investigation, and often lasts a whole day or takes place over a couple of days. They will often claim that they have someone in custody claiming to be your relative. When you say that you don’t have a relative of that name, they will say that they are using a false identity and have a cloned bank card of yours. They then say that there is fraud occurring within the victim’s bank.


The victim will eventually be asked to attend their bank and withdraw a sum of money, or instead, purchase high value goods such as jewellery or gold. To make the fraud more plausible, they will often ask the victim to read out the serial numbers on the back of the notes. The fraudster will proceed to tell them that a large percentage of the notes are counterfeit and therefore must be collected by a “courier” as evidence. They will usually provide the victim with a pre-agreed password for pick up and may even give them a receipt so that the money can be reimbursed. The fraudster may instead ask that they hand over their bank card(s) and PIN.



  • The bank or police will NEVER ask you to withdraw cash, purchase high value goods or hand over your bank cards and PIN to assist with an investigation.
  • HANG UP! – the genuine police or bank would never be annoyed by you being cautious of a call, only a fraudster.
  • Fraudsters can disguise their numbers to appear to be calling from anywhere they want, including your bank. They can also hold the line open, so ensure you either do your checks on a different phone or wait at least 10 minutes for the line to clear. If you can, attend your bank or police station in person.
  • Take 5 and Tell 2 – Take 5 minutes away from the contact and think carefully about what is being asked of you. Then, tell 2 people about the contact you have had to get their opinion.