Three homes were raided and three people arrested as detectives probe a £20,000 alleged fraud at a major high street chain.
Police in Preston launched a probe after Argos reported suspicious activity involving purchases of i-Pads online.
It is alleged that over a series of months, several I-Pads, worth around £400 each, were ordered from the firm’s website, but after being delivered they were sent back with complaints the packaging had been damaged on arrival.
When the returned packages were eventually transported by couriers to back to Argos, staff found the i-Pad boxes contained a cheap £17 DVD player.
The Evening Post understands Argos has told police between 20 and 30 incidents have happened, and that it did it’s own undercover investigation before alerting police.
Police raided homes on Tennyson Mill Court, Ribbleton, Cheriton Fields in Lea and Alice Sqaure in Deepdale on Monday.
Several DVD players were seized.
Det Sgt John Crichton said: “It is not the most sophisticated fraud as the products were purchases with traceable credit cards and delivered to legitimate addresses in Preston.
“The people behidn the fraud have obviously made a presumption they could fool Argos when they quite patently were not.
“We are pleased to say three men are arrested and enquiries are ongoing.
He added officers were investigating if other retailers could have been affected by a similar scam, after other electrical items were seized during the raids.
Two men aged 18 and 19 and a 17-year-old boy have been arrested, and are being quizzed by CID officers.