Police warn elderly residents following reports of courier fraud in Lancashire
The warning comes following numerous incident reports this week.
Lancashire Constabulary has issued a warning to older residents in the area about being the target for telephone courier fraud scammers, following a spike in reports.
The police say they have received a number of reports from across the county this week involving offenders pretending to be police officers investigating fraud.
In the last few days, two of these incidents were successful, with more than £10,000 in total being stolen by fraudsters who telephoned victims and managed to fraudulently obtain cash through what is known as courier fraud.
The first incident happened on Monday (October 4) when a woman in her 80s from Hyndburn received a phone call from a man, claiming to be a Lancashire Police officer named 'DC 4144 Alex Hunter', who was investigating a bank giving out fake notes to elderly customers.
He asked the victim to go to the bank, withdraw £4,000 and inform him of the serial numbers so he could check whether they were fake.
A man posing as a courier, and described as wearing dark clothing, then went to the victim’s house in the Fielding Street area of Rishton to collect the cash.
The second incident, which happened on Tuesday (October 5), involved a woman in her 60s from Lancaster, who received a phone call from a man, again claiming to be a Lancashire Police officer, this time called 'Insp Paul Stewart', who was apparently investigating a similar fraud.
He asked the victim to go to the bank, withdraw £6,500 and leave it outside her front door under a plant pot to be collected by a ‘courier’, who is also described as wearing dark clothing and being in his 20s.
The police added that offenders posing as couriers often use taxi firms to assist them in driving them to the addresses.
DI Mark Riley of Lancashire Police Economic Crime Unit said: “The police, or the bank, or any other organisation for that matter, will never phone you and ask you to withdraw funds for inspection. They will never ask you to transfer funds to a safe account and they will also never send someone to collect cash, pins, cards or cheque books either.
“I would ask people to be extra vigilant at this time. If you get a phone call from someone saying they are from the police or the bank do not provide your account details or hand over any cash.
“May I also ask that local taxi firms and courier firms are conscious of these offences and if they are not happy about collecting items from elderly victims then they should question this and if necessary call 101.
“In the past we have successfully intercepted incidents of courier fraud but this week there were unfortunately two incidents in Lancashire where victims have sadly handed over large sums of cash to their 'couriers'.
"These are unscrupulous offenders with no morals and are only interested in bringing misery to their victims Please be aware of this highly sophisticated and devastating scam. Scammers target elderly and 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.”
If anybody has any information which could help our investigation or you believe you or a loved may have been the victim of this scam please call police on 101.
For help and advice about how you can stay safe from scammers visit Action Fraud via this website or call 0300 123 2040.