London 'courier scam' victims lose £3m to conmen

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Media captionAndy Welch lost more than £5,000 after being targeted by fraudsters

A so-called courier scam involving people being persuaded to hand over their bank cards to criminals has lost victims more than £3m, since 2011.

New figures from the Metropolitan Police show that 2,967 people in London were targeted from January 2011 until September 2013.

"Courier fraud" involves criminals phoning victims pretending to be from an authority to extract pin details.

The fraudsters then send a courier to pick up the victim's bank card.

The Met Police said 143 people had been arrested on suspicion of courier fraud, since January 2011.

Loss of £5,000

The criminals usually tell the victim their account has been compromised and they should call their bank, but the fraudsters stay on the line so when the victim rings out they are still connected to the criminal.

Det Insp Gary Miles, from the Met Police, said officers were trying to prevent fraudsters from making bogus calls.

He said: "We've been targeting it all year investigating the suspects that are committing the offences, but also targeting the enablers to stop them having the ability to make that phone call in the first place."

Andy Welch lost more than £5,000 after he was targeted by a gang pretending to be from his bank.

"I don't discuss any financial transactions or details over the phone with anybody any more," he said.

"I realised that just because you call somebody it does not mean you're through to who you thought you were."

Last month, communications regulator Ofcom said it was "concerned" telephone network features were being exploited by criminals to commit courier fraud.

Ofcom said it was working with the police to try to prevent the scam.

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