Police release CCTV of man they wish to speak to following report of courier fraud in the Ribble Valley
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Detectives investigating scams involving people falsely claiming to be police officers have released CCTV footage of a man they want to speak to in connection with one report in the Ribble Valley, which took place last week.
In the past month, Lancashire Police have received several reports of fraudsters telephoning victims pretending to be detectives investigating fraud and obtaining cash through what is known as courier fraud, which the Post have reported on previously.
Today the police have released CCTV in relation to an incident on Thursday October 22, when a fraudster contacted a woman in her 80s from Longridge, falsely claiming to be from Lancashire Police, and asked her to withdraw £8,250 as part of their investigation into bank fraud.
Believing she was assisting a genuine Lancashire Police officer, the victim withdrew the money from the bank and a man posing as a courier collected it later in the evening.
In the CCTV footage, a man can be seen walking along Springs Road, Longridge at around 5.03pm, and police want to speak to him in connection with their investigation.
Detective Sergeant Ash Johnston of Lancashire Police said: “I would appeal to anyone who recognises this man to please contact us with any information they think might help with our enquiries. Likewise, if this is you, then I would encourage you to contact us.
“Scammers target vulnerable people so please make sure your loved ones are aware of this latest scam that is happening in Lancashire. If you do receive a call, immediately report the matter to the police as soon as possible.”
In the last few weeks, numerous elderly victims, from Lancaster, Blackburn and Preston, have reported receiving phone calls from fraudsters pretending to be police officers and claiming there had been suspicious activity on their bank cards.
Although the majority have terminated the call before disclosing bank or credit card information, others have fallen victim to the scam with a total loss of more than £40,000 to date.
To prevent being scammed, Lancashire Police advise that if you ever receive a phone call from somebody stating they are a police officer, and you are unsure they are who they are claiming to be, terminate the call and ring 101 to check that their name and collar number is genuine.
They added that members of the public should always ensure that they hear a fresh dialling tone because sometimes fraudsters will stay on the line after you think the call has been disconnected and pretend to be a police call handler.
Lancashire Police confirmed that they would never ask for cash or bank details, and that if you suspect a fraud is taking place or something is not quite right, always disconnect the call.
In order to help spread the message, particualry to those not on social media, the police also ask members of the public to inform any elderly or vulnerable relative, friend or neighbour about this latest scam.
If anybody has any information which could help the police's investigation or if you believe you or a loved may have been the victim of this scam call the police on 101, quoting log 1025 of October 22.
Earlier this month three people were arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation, a 27-year-old from London, a 19-year-old man from Nelson and a 25-year-old man from Nelson in connection with courier frauds in the East of the county.
They have either since been released on bail or released under investigation, pending further enquiries.
For help and advice about how you can stay safe from scammers visit Action Fraud via this link or call 0300 123 2040.