Courier and telephone fraud

Mainly targeting the elderly

This is a fraud that is mainly targeting the elderly and vulnerable in our communities. These scams are becoming increasingly prevalent in the Devon and Cornwall area.  If you are elderly or know someone who is elderly or vulnerable, please ensure you/they know how to spot and avoid this type of fraud.

Operation Fardel is the Devon and Cornwall Police response to this crime type. If you have received a call from a fraudster that has attempted to deceive you or has indeed succeeded in deceiving you please let us know or contact Crimestoppers.

We are here to help you but we need your help to successfully stop this happening to others, identify the offenders and bring them to justice.

How the fraud works

The potential victim gets a phone call. The fraudster pretends to be a police officer (says they are investigating a fraud on their bank account and have made an arrest) or they might claim to be from the victim’s bank (they say they are investigating fraud relating to the account).

What happensWhat to do about it

The fraudster asks for account details

Do not give it

The fraudster asks for PIN details and other security information

Do not give it

The fraudster may ask for the PIN to be keyed into the phone using the keypad

Do not do it – available technology will record it for the fraudster to use later.

If you get suspicious – the fraudster will realise and suggest you ‘hang up’ and call the police or even your own bank to confirm identity and that they are legitimate.

Do not do this using the same phone.
The fraudster doesn’t hang up so all that happens is that you, the potential victim, are re-connected to the same phone and the fraudsters are ready with appropriate responses to continue the fraud. It could even be the same person or another fraudster.

They may ask that large amounts of cash are withdrawn from the victims account (bank or building society)

Do not do this. If such a request is made they will explain that the money is required for forensic examination. The victim will be instructed not to tell the bank why they are withdrawing the money, giving the reason that the bank might be involved in the fraud. This is not true.

They will instruct the victim to put the bank cards and/or money into an envelope and give them to a courier or taxi

Do not do this.
The taxi (courier) will have been sent by the fraudster to collect the items and deliver to them. Bank cards are collected for later use by the offenders to withdraw money using the PIN provided by the victim.

Action to take if you get a call:

  • Be suspicious.  End the call.
  • NEVER give your PIN, security or bank details to anyone over the phone.


  • WAIT at least five minutes before attempting to make another call to ensure you’re not reconnected to the offender.
  • Use a different phone e.g. a mobile phone or a neighbour’s phone. If that is not possible then phone a known friend that you will recognise to test the phone to confirm you aren’t still unwittingly connected to the offender.
  • NEVER give your bank account details or PIN number over the phone.
  • NEVER withdraw money and send it to anyone via a courier, taxi or by any other means.
  • NEVER send your bank cards to anyone via courier, taxi or by any other means.
  • NEITHER the police nor your bank will EVER ask for this information.

How can you help stop this devastating crime?

Pass it on

Pass it on - share this information with your relatives and friends (older generation are more vulnerable and are targeted possibly due to the belief they have more available funds).

To stop the calls

TO STOP NUISANCE CALLS - You may like to consider the purchase of a ‘Call Blocker’ (there are two types in the main) which is fitted in line with your telephone socket and land line telephone.  These devices can block all calls and only allow pre-programmed numbers through or the other has a button which allows you to block any call after you have determined that you don’t wish to receive any more calls from that caller.  Just ‘google’ the words ‘call blocker’ for more information and make sure you consider purchasing a product that is Secured By Design (SBD) approved.


Report any calls you believe are suspicious (the non-emergency number is 101).  It may be possible to trace where the calls are originating from and build the intelligence picture to apprehend and prosecute offenders.  Don’t forget - wait at least five minutes before calling police or use a different phone e.g. a mobile or neighbour’s phone.

You wouldn't give your information to a stranger face-to-face, don't do it over the phone.

Your bank

If you have concerns about your bank account please contact or visit your local branch.

Printable information

In addition to the downloadable leaflets in the right hand navigation column, a printable A5 leaflet is available from Financial Fraud Action UK providing guidance about telephone fraud in English, Bengali, Punjabi and Urdu.

One to watch: 999 fraud phone call scam

 Source: Dorset Police


Crime Reduction Officer
Devon & Cornwall Police, Crime Reduction Dept
Police Headquarters
Middlemoor, Exeter

Non Emergency Directory (NED)

Current location: Change

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