Lancashire Police have issued an urgent fraud warning as residents in across the county continue to fall victim to a telephone fraud.
Since December last year, there have been 65 reported incidents across Lancashire with around £115k stolen from the victims.
In each instance, the victim has been contacted via phone by someone purporting to be a police officer. The story used by the offenders appears to change slightly each time but all involve the caller saying that the victim has been targeted for some sort of crime relating to their bank or bank card.
The victim is asked for their bank account details or they are asked to transfer a substantial amount of money to a ‘safe’ account. In some instances the victim is asked to withdraw funds from the relevant account as it needs to be checked for fingerprinting by a ‘police officer’ who then attends the victim’s address and takes their money.
The offenders have targeted residents in Burnley, Padiham, Blackburn, Rishton, Mellor and Clayton le dale, mainly aged in their seventies and eighties. Reports of a similar nature have also been received in Central Lancashire in Preston and Bamber Bridge and in Blackpool.
Detective Inspector Martin Melvin said: “These are despicable crimes against vulnerable, elderly victims.
“While this has happened across the country people in Lancashire are falling victim to this scam and I would like to remind people to be vigilant and if you get this type of phone call, report it to the police and/ or your bank before transferring any money into another account or agreeing to hand any of your cash over.
“People who commit these offences will often target the elderly posing as officials to gain their confidence and trust. No police officer or other official body will ever ask for your bank details or would ever ask you to withdraw or transfer funds.
“If you have an elderly friend or relative, please let them know that this is happening so they can avoid becoming a potential victim.”
Det Insp Melvin added: “We are working with colleagues throughout Lancashire and the rest of the country and will do everything we can to track down the heartless criminals committing these offences, defrauding these people, out of in some cases, their life savings.
“If you have any information about this incident or suspect that you may have fallen victim to a similar deception then please contact the police or Action Fraud.”
• Anybody with information can contact police on 101 or alternatively Crimestoppers can be called anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at Crimestoppers-uk.org
• Similarly, you can contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online atwww.actionfraud.police.uk
• A well established and highly respected independent UK home care provider, Home Instead Senior Care has a number of useful resources, sharing useful information and helpful resources which will help family members and elderly people in their everyday lives. This includes a great guide on Senior Fraud Protection: http://www.homeinstead.co.uk/Information_Resources.do