Eleven people, including two men from Luton, have people have been charged in connection with a series of courier fraud offences which saw victims lose more than £225,000 in total.
Between March 1, and November 29, 2016, 36 offences were reported to police. The phone scams mainly occurred in Hertfordshire and London but there were also cases in Bedfordshire, Surrey, Kent, Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and the Thames Valley area.
In the majority of cases, elderly victims were reportedly contacted by people claiming to be from the police, stating they were investigating fraudulent activity on their bank accounts.
The callers then asked the victims to withdraw large sums of money from their accounts and hand it over to a courier.
The total financial loss to the victims was £225,911 with unsuccessful attempts to scam a further £122,445 - totalling £338,356.
The investigation is being carried out by a team of detectives from Operation Manhunt, Hertfordshire Constabulary’s specialist unit which investigates distraction burglary and other crimes which target the elderly and vulnerable.
A series of warrants were carried out back in November which led to a number of arrests.
Maujasim Rasool, 22, of Hayhurst Road, and Abdul Khan, 25, of Calverton Road, were both charged with conspiracy to defraud, along with three men also in their 20’s from London.
Six men from Camden, all in their 20’s, were charged with charged with conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to commit robbery.
All 11 have been released on bail ahead of a hearing at West Herts Magistrates Court on Tuesday, October 10.
Detective Sergeant Jon Leak, from Operation Manhunt, said: “We will continue to do all we can to track down those suspected of being involved in courier fraud.
“We have done a lot of work to raise awareness of these scams but we need people to continue spreading the word to elderly friends, relatives and neighbours to help prevent more people falling victim to them.
“Please remember that police and banks would never ask for your PIN over the phone and would never ask you to withdraw cash and hand it to a courier.
“If you receive a call you are suspicious of, please hang up and alert the police. Remember to wait at least five minutes, or use a mobile phone to ensure you aren’t reconnected to the offender.”