Elderly Lancashire residents scammed out of £35,000 in total after 'spike' in courier fraud
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Lancashire has suffered a spike in courier fraud in the last three weeks, with Preston being the latest target, according to police.
The rise in scam calls has resulted in nine people losing approximately £35,000 in total, with more than 25 attempts reported.
Fraud detectives urged anyone with elderly or vulnerable relatives, friends or neighbours to make them aware of this latest scam.
"Victims are often elderly and caught off guard by expert criminals who are using ruthless tactics to convince victims to act immediately and putting pressure on them, " Det Insp Mark Riley, from Lancashire Police Economic Crime Unit, said.
This coupled with imitating police officers is what is making people believe the lies being fed to them. Anyone is susceptible to this and it isn't just financially damaging, it is also leaves victims with emotional scars."
"These are unscrupulous offenders with no morals and are only interested in bringing misery to their victims."
One offender fraudulently obtained €3,500 (around £2,953) from a woman in her 80s on Tuesday (October 19).
The victim, from Preston, received a phone call from a man claiming to be PC Martin Langley with the collar number 0144.
The offender told her he was investigating fraudulent activity on her bank account and instructed her to withdraw the euros as evidence.
A man then visited her home address at around 5.30pm to collect the cash.
Police said the man, posing as a courier, gave the victim a pre-approved code word in an attempt to prove his credibility.
The suspect is described as Asian, aged around 20, of slim build and was wearing a navy jacket and dark trousers.
Two elderly victims also reported fraudsters who told them there had been suspicious activity on their bank cards at Asda.
Det Insp Mark Riley added: "Please be aware of this highly sophisticated and devastating scam.
"Scammers target vulnerable people so please make your loved ones aware.
"If you do receive a call, immediately report the matter to the police as soon as possible."
Earlier this month, a 27-year-old from London and two men from Nelson, aged 19 and 25, were arrested in connection with courier frauds in East Lancashire.
They have all since been released on bail or under investigation.
To find out more about courier fraud, visit the Lancashire Police website at www.lancashire.police.uk/help-advice/personal-safety/courier-fraud/It is thanks to our loyal readers that we can continue to provide the trusted news, analysis and insight that matters to you.
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