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Landline warning issued to all UK homes – ignoring advice could be costly


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Police in the UK have issued a stark warning to all homes with a landline after a rise in courier fraud. These nasty scams target the elderly, with criminals cold calling potential victims who are duped into handing over money, valuables and even bank cards.

Courier fraud is when a person is called, in this instance on their landline, and the caller pretends to be from the police or your bank. The victim is presented with a fake situation where they are tricked into handing over items physically to a person who comes to their door pretending to be a courier.

The City of London Police put out a caution that said 43 percent of courier fraud scam victims are in their 80s.

“This is a particularly nasty crime type often resulting in significant psychological harm and financial loss to victims, many of whom are living alone and suffering age-related illness,” said Detective Sergeant Victoria O’Keefe, from the Lead Force Operations Room at the City of London Police.

Police forces across the UK have led an operation to crack down on the landline fraud that is said to have defrauded Brits of more than £28.7 million in 2023 alone.

“Many elderly people rely on their landline phone to stay connected to the outside world and for peace of mind, we would recommend protecting loved ones from fraudulent calls by getting a call blocking device fitted,” O’Keefe said.

“If you hear that your friend or loved one is being contacted out of the blue by the police or the bank and asked to withdraw money, handover bank cards or make purchases, report it to the police immediately.”

The City of London Police said in some instances the criminals are able to get people to hand over jewellery and other expensive items, or even coerce victims into going out and buying such items from retailers on the criminal’s behalf.

In a recent study by police of 100 cases of courier fraud over two weeks across the UK, about 85 percent of victims were aged 60-90 years old, with 31.5 percent in their 70s. 33 percent were in their 80s, and the oldest victim was 94. Total losses were £290,000, with one person alone losing £56,000.

Police have suggested those concerned could purchase a call blocker from recommended company trueCall. The physical device plugs into your landline and claims to be able to stop more than 95 percent of nuisance and scam calls from coming through – the phone won’t even ring if it’s a dodgy number.

If you think you have been a victim of fraud or attempted fraud you can report it to national body Action Fraud or call 0300 123 2040. In Scotland, you can report to the police by calling 101.

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