11th March 2015
Two men have been jailed for defrauding vulnerable people out of more than £88,000 through a scam known as “courier fraud”.
This is where criminals claim to be police officers and use a variety of pretences, including suggesting that a victim’s bank card has been used by somebody that they have in custody. They then ask the victim to phone the bank to cancel the card and tell the victims’ that they will send a courier round to collect the card or money.
Meanwhile the fraudster stays on the line and obtains the victim’s bank details while the victim believes they are phoning their bank. The courier, is often a legitimate taxi requested by the fraudsters, which calls at the victim’s address and collects an envelope containing bank cards or cash.
There are occasions where high value goods such as jewellery or electrical items have been collected by direction of the offenders.
Rahim Choudhury and Abdul Shafee, both 19, of Quaker Street, London, were given the custodial sentences at Bristol Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday March 10) of 38 months and 15 months, respectively, according to Avon and Somerset Constabulary.
Earlier this year, Rahim Choudhury admitted to conspiracy to commit fraud offences, where 30 victims were defrauded out of a total of £88,500.
Abdul Shafee admitted conspiracy to commit fraud offences. The prosecution attributed two offender phones to him, which had been used to call 13 victims of courier fraud.
Detective Inspector Tony Hubbard, of Avon and Somerset Police, who is working for Zephyr, the South West’s Regional Organised Crime Unit, said after the trial: “Choudhury and Shafee, who are only 19, committed these crimes, predominantly in the south west, to fund their cash-rich lifestyle and have shown no remorse to the victims they have deceived.
“We can see from evidence recovered how they identified vulnerable victims and portrayed their own arrogance and extravagant lifestyle, obtained from the misery and loss of others.
“Photographs found on their mobile phones including several expensive cars and watches, and bundles of cash, which showed the kind of lifestyle they were living.
“We welcome the custodial sentences imposed against them and hope this sends a clear message to others to stop now similar crimes or face legal action and the prospect of a term in prison.
“Zephyr is committed to tackling organised crime that targets the most vulnerable in our society and will relentlessly pursue all those involved in this abhorrent crime. Within the south west region victim losses within the past 12 months are in excess of £2 million, with 700 reported crimes, and no doubt many more crimes of this nature go unreported,” said DI Hubbard.
Avon and Somerset police advise:
Simple guidelines to help you to prevent yourself becoming a victim of courier fraud are:
NEVER give your PIN or bank details out over the phone
NEVER withdraw cash and send it anywhere via a courier or taxi
NEVER send bank cards anywhere via a courier or taxi
NEITHER the police or your bank with ever ask for you to do any of the above.
If you can assist police in identifying anyone involved in committing this type of crime, or you have been a victim, please call your local police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. You can also contact Action Fraud (National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre) on 0300 1232040.