“Fraud Tourists” Ran Courier Scam From Birmingham B&B


Oldest Victim Was 86-Years-Old

Three ‘fraud tourists’ have admitted duping elderly residents out of thousands of pounds in a phone scam they ran from a Birmingham B&B.


London trio Imran Miah, Hussain Abdirahman and Masum Uddin tricked nine people – the oldest an 86-year-old woman from Sutton Coldfield – out of £11,000 collectively using scare stories designed to panic them into handing over bank cards and PIN numbers.


During regular short visits from the capital last September they called landline numbers belonging to hundreds of Birmingham pensioners whilst holed up in a hotel room in Edgbaston.


Posing as police fraud investigators, cruel Miah (18), Abdirahman (20) and 19-year-old Uddin convinced targets their bank accounts had been hacked and that they needed to seize cards and security details, including PIN numbers, to stop further dodgy transactions.


But having parted with debit and credit cards to a ‘courier’ – unwitting taxi drivers booked by the conmen – some victims soon found huge dents in their life savings as the trio made repeat ATM withdrawals and big-ticket internet purchases.

Their scam was rumbled by West Midlands Police detectives on 25 September last year when a taxi firm called 999 to report a suspicious booking where a driver had been asked to hand over a mystery package to a man in Edgbaston’s Holly Road.


Officers lay in wait at the rendezvous point and caught Miah red-handed with bank cards taken from a 74-year-old man’s home, plus keys to a room at Prince Hotel where Abdirahman and Uddin were later found.


Police recovered three mobile phones from the room which, when analysed, were found to have made hundreds of calls to the homes of predominantly elderly residents in Birmingham, including nine people who’d been duped.


They initially denied conspiracy to defraud claiming they visited Birmingham to chill out and “meet girls” – but when presented with the evidence against them all three admitted the offence and at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday (May 6) they were jailed.


Abdirahman was imprisoned for 37 months – with the judge noting he has several previous convictions for robbery – whilst Miah and Uddin were each handed 20 month sentences.


West Midlands Police Detective Inspector Ben West, said: “They acted like ‘fraud tourists’ travelling from London on at least four occasions last September, staying for two or three days at a time, with the sole intention of conning elderly people.

“Having panicked them with false claims of fraudulent activity on their accounts they advised calling their banks – but as they never hung up they jammed the phone line so victims were still unwittingly speaking to them rather than starting a fresh conversation with their bank.


“They targeted elderly, vulnerable residents – the types of people they believed were more likely to fall for their scheme or that they could confuse into handing over bank details.


“These are notable convictions against men who would undoubtedly have gone on to defraud many more people in the West Midlands had we not caught them in the act.”


Miah, Abdirahman and Uddin – all from Camden – first struck on 3 September when they plundered £1,200 from an 80-year-old Sutton man’s savings.


The following day a 60-year-old woman – visiting her mother-in-law in Sutton Coldfield – fell for the courier scam to the tune of £550, whilst a Quinton pensioner lost £900 on 12 September after parting with his bank cards.


Between 14 and 19 September the fraudsters tricked residents in Harborne, Kings Norton, Kings Heath, Sutton Coldfield and Yardley. In the worst case, an 81-year-old woman from Harborne found a £5,500 blackhole in her account after repeat ATM visits with her cards and several purchases in London stores.


Detectives were already on the trio’s trail before the September 25 taxi tip-off: quick-time phone enquiries had identified the mobile number from which an earlier con call was made  and further research linked the number to other frauds.


Later communications analysis showed all three had travelled from London to Birmingham on numerous occasions – CCTV showed them arriving in New Street station – whilst Miah was spotted on security camera’s using a victim’s bank card at an ATM on September 18.


West Midlands Police launched a major awareness raising campaign earlier this year alerting residents to the ‘courier scam’.


Chief Inspector Adrian Atherley, said: “It seems most people are getting the message, switching on to the scam and refusing to fall for the fraudsters’ patter.


“It’s important people contact police if they’ve been targeted so we can build up an accurate picture on the scale of the fraud, the tactics being used and potentially gather crucial information on offenders.


“Police officers or genuine bank officials would never phone and ask you to divulge PIN numbers over the phone or send couriers round to collect cards – if you receive a call requesting this then hang up and contact police.”


Anyone who believes they’ve been targeted by fraudsters should call police on 101 or if a crime is in progress dial 999. For more crime prevention advice go to the Action Fraud website http://www.actionfraud.police.uk


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