Detectives are investigating a spate of courier fraud offences throughout Dorset and are issuing advice to prevent others becoming a victim.

Since Wednesday 2 November 2022, there have been 11 reported offences of fraud where sadly five victims have been defrauded of a total of £72,000. Officers from Weymouth CID are investigating this latest crime series with the support of the Force’s Economic Crime Unit and fraud triage team.

Detective Superintendent Stewart Dipple, of County LPA Investigations and Performance, said: “The current scam is that offenders contact a potential victim pretending to be police officers or a member of bank staff. They either state that they have a suspect in custody, who has been using your bank details or that your bank account has been compromised, with bank staff being involved and corrupt.

“They quite often know which bank you are with and will know at least your surname. They will keep you on the phone – sometimes for hours – and very often request you to leave the phone line live and off the hook. Or they will bombard you with telephone calls over a number of hours.

“They will then ask you to assist with their investigation and will request you to go to the bank and withdraw several thousands of pounds. They promise that you will get the funds back after they have made checks.

“They will ask you to keep this to yourselves as, if you tell anyone, it will jeopardise the investigation. If you have a mobile phone, they will ask you to keep the line open when you travel to the bank and when in the bank so they can listen to your conversation. They will tell you to tell lies to the bank when they ask you questions about your withdrawal. If you don’t have transport they will call a taxi for you, but this will be at your expense.

“On your return home they will ask you to read out some serial numbers on the notes and they will tell you that the notes are counterfeit.

“They will then do one of two things: They will ask you to wrap up the notes and sometimes place them into a box and they will give you an address to send the package to. They will tell you to go to the post office and send it special delivery. On your return from the post office they will ask you for the tracking number so they can track the package.

“Or they will send a courier/person to your home address, who will be part of the scammers’ team. They will give you a password that the courier will tell you when picking up the package.

“To help us counter this despicable crime, I urge you to remember three important points:

The police or the bank will never ask you to assist in this way with any investigation.

The police or the bank will never ask you to remove money or transfer your money from your account.

The police or the bank will never attend your address to pick up bank cards or cash.

“Courier fraud remains a national issue and as these incidents over recent days show, we keep experiencing them again and again in our county, with 66 reports so far this year in Dorset.

“Please be alert and report any suspicious activities. We would also ask people to look out for vulnerable family members or neighbours and make sure they are aware of this potential scam.”

If you think you have been the victim of a courier fraud, report it to Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk/contact, by calling 101 (or 999 if you are in immediate danger or risk of harm) or report directly to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or on 0300 123 2040.