Courier Scams

Operation Sterling from the Metropolitan Police Service is reissuing its warning regarding “Courier Scams” . A fraud that is mainly targeting the elderly and vulnerable in our communities. These scams are becoming increasingly prevalent across London and beyond.


  • Elderly members of the public have been receiving unsolicited telephone calls from fraudsters purporting to be from the police or their bank.
  • A fraudster will ring a member of the public, claiming to be from their bank (or in some cases claiming to be the police), stating that their systems have spotted a fraudulent payment on their card or that their card is due to expire and needs to be replaced.
  • The person may be asked to ring the bank back using the phone number printed on the back of their bank card. This helps to convince the person that the call is genuine.
  • However, the fraudster has kept the telephone line open so even though the person has called the bank, the call does not go through. Instead they are unknowingly connected straight back to the fraudster.
  • The fraudster then gains the person’s trust by pretending to be from the bank and seeming to offer assistance. In many cases the person is asked to provide their full bank card details and key in their PIN so that their existing card can be “cancelled” and their new one "activated" or "authorised." The fraudster will then explain that the bank will need to collect the card.
  • The fraudster will then attend the person’s address or send an innocent courier company driver to collect the card and sometimes provide them with a “replacement” card which is subsequently found to be fake.
  • Therefore, the fraudster has obtained the person’s name, address, full bank details, the card itself and the PIN. The bank cards are then used fraudulently without the victim’s knowledge.


  • There are many variations to this scam, one of which is where the scammer requests you to assist in a police investigation by asking you to go to your bank, withdraw a large sum of cash and take this home.
  • Another is where you may be told there is a corrupt member of staff within your bank and the police need your help to identify them by withdrawing a large sum of your money with the purpose of the money being marked by police or the bank and placed back into the banking system. They say this will help them identify the corrupt person. You may be told not to speak to the bank about the investigation when you withdraw your cash as this may alert the criminal. You will then be asked to hand this to a courier or taxi driver and it will ultimately end up with the scammer.
  • You may also be asked to purchase an expensive watch or other expensive items and hand this to the taxi driver.
  • Fraudsters contacting members of the public requesting them to cut their cards in half because their account has been compromised. They are then asked to post the cut card to an address where fraudsters simply tape the card together again and can use the details to commit fraud.

Prevention Advice

If you receive such a call end it immediately. If you receive a call like this, hang up the phone. In order to clear your line from the scammer, wait at least 5 minutes before making any calls. DO NOT hand over any money or items purchased as a result of this type of phone call.

Please be aware of the following:

  • Your bank will never attend your home
  • Your bank and the police will never collect your bank card
  • Your bank and the police will never ask for your PIN

Reporting Advice

In an emergency dial 999.

In a non-emergency, report to Action Fraud, see related links or contact your local police by dialling 101 and report the matter to your bank.