FBI: Scammers Are Sending Couriers to Collect Cash From Victims

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The FBI has claimed $55m were lost from May to December 2023 to scammers posing as representatives of the government, financial institutions and technology companies.

The bureau’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) explained in a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) that the fraudsters typically trick their victims into liquidating their assets into cash or precious metals, before sending a courier round to pick them up.

They first persuade the victim, often a senior citizen, that their bank accounts have been hacked or are at risk of being targeted by threat actors. The only way to protect the funds, they continue, is to hand them over for safekeeping, in the form of cash or gold, silver or other previous metals, the PSA explained.

In some cases, victims are told to wire their funds direct to a ‘metal dealer’ who will then ship the goods to their home.

The scam is unusual in blending on- and offline techniques to obtain victims’ hard-earned money.

Read more on fraud: DoJ Scam Targets Elderly Americans

“Scammers may direct victims to authenticate the transaction with the courier using a passcode, such as the serial number of a US dollar bill,” the PSA noted. “Scammers tell victims they will safeguard the assets in a protected account on behalf of the victims. In reality, victims never hear back from the scammers and lose all their money.”

The FBI urged members of the public to protect their personal information and never agree to hand over cash or previous metals to strangers. It added that computer users should never click on pop-ups or links/attachments in unsolicited messages or call telephone numbers in these messages.

They should also never download software to their machine at the request of someone who contacted them out of the blue or allow unknown individuals to access their computer, the FBI said.

Back in 2022, City of London police warned that thousands of people had lost over £15m ($19m) to “courier fraud.”

One 83-year-old woman was reportedly conned out of over £30,000 ($38,000) after handing over her debit card and driver’s license.

Confidence fraud made scammers nearly $734m in 2022, while tech support scams garnered $807m, according to the FBI.

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