Four Luton men jailed for courier scam

Police are calling for witnesses
Police are calling for witnesses

Four Luton men who were involved in a courier fraud which saw two victims swindled out of more than £20,000 have been jailed.

The four were arrested in a series of raids in Luton on May 28 after investigations showed money passing through their accounts from the victims.

One of those defrauded in the scam, a woman in her 70s from Kent, transferred £18,000, while a woman from Luton was duped out of £4,000.

The victims had been called by fraudsters claiming to be police officers investigating a scam.

Biplob Roy, 25, of Waldeck Road, Luton, and Risul Alam, 32, of Cromwell Road, Luton, pleaded guilty to possessing criminal property and transferring criminal property.

Anurag Maheshwari, 27, of Chapel Street, Luton, and Nazmul Chowdhury, 38, of Maple Road West, were convicted of both charges following a trial.

Maheshwari was jailed for nine months, Chowdhury was sentenced to seven months, Roy given six months and Alam locked up for four months at Luton Crown Court on Monday (30 November).

They were also ordered to pay costs.

Detective Constable Clare Long, who investigated the cases, said: “There have been a huge amount of incidents across Bedfordshire where people have been convinced to hand over their savings leaving them feeling distraught and angry that they have been conned.

“This result comes after extensive work by our investigative team, piecing together several small clues, and by working with other forces to bring these offenders to justice.”

This fraud is being used nationally and is known as the ‘courier’ scam. There are many variations but usually follows this pattern:

• A fraudster cold calls you on a landline, claiming to be from your bank or the police. Often older people are targeted. The ‘bank’ or ‘police’ say their systems have detected a fraudulent payment on your account, or that your card is due to expire and needs to be replaced.

• To reassure they are genuine, they suggest that you hang up and call your bank or the police back straight away. However, because they don’t disconnect their call from your landline when you dial the genuine phone number for your bank or the police, you are actually still speaking to the fraudster.

• They then ask you to read out your PIN or type it on your phone keypad. They may also ask for the details of other accounts you hold with that bank or financial service provider.

• Finally, they send a courier to you to physically collect your bank card, or the cash that you will be withdrawing from the compromised accounts.

• The fraudster will have then obtained your name, address, full bank details, card and PIN and can take however much they want from your accounts.

Anyone with information relating to this fraud should call police on 101, text information to 07786 200011, or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.