Police are urging members of the public to be aware of instances of courier fraud which has been aimed at elderly people.
Figures from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) show instances of courier fraud across the country are on the rise and affecting some of the most vulnerable people the community.
Throughout the rest of January, police forces across the country are focussing on raising awareness of the different types of courier fraud to protect those most likely to fall victim.
Courier fraud is when criminals cold call a victim, typically claiming to be a police officer or bank official. Offences are often committed by organised crime groups who target the elderly and vulnerable.
Examples of specific instances have been where following a phone call, the fraudsters then claim there is an issue with the victim's bank account or request their assistance with an ongoing bank or police investigation. The ultimate aim of the call being to lure them into handing over money or their bank details.
Common techniques used by the fraudsters include telling the victim to withdraw large sums of cash, purchase an expensive item, or provide their bank cards or details. In all cases, a 'courier' will then come and pick up the cash or items, on behalf of the police or bank. They will often come to the victim's home address.
There were 233 reports of courier fraud in the eastern region in 2019 (up until December 24) with total losses of more than £620,000.
Detective Constable Al Al-Bassam, from the Regional Fraud Investigation Unit (RFIU), said: "I would urge people to remain aware that phone scams are operating across the region. As it does tend to be the elderly and vulnerable who are targeted by the offenders, please share the following advice with neighbours and relatives."
Police say that banks will never call and ask anyone to verify personal details or PIN numbers by phone or offer to pick up a debit card by courier and people should hang up if this receive a call like this.
If you need to call your bank back to check, wait five minutes as fraudsters may stay on the line after you hang up. Alternatively, use a different line altogether to call your bank.
To report an incident in action or if you are in immediate danger always call 999.
Further information about courier fraud can be found on the Cambridgeshire Constabulary website.