A stroke victim has revealed how phone fraudsters almost conned him out of his life savings in a scam that has hit at least 65 people across Lancashire.
Robert Davies, 81, who worked for a firm in Catforth, near Preston, was contacted by a bogus caller pretending to be a police officer who said fraudsters had used his bank account to pay for an expensive camera .
The caller then appeared to put him through to 999 where a female operator answered and ‘put him through to police’.
He was then asked for his bank account details.
Mr Davies and wife Sheila, who have several grandchildren, smelled a rat and went to their bank for help and the matter was referred to police.
He said: “We are frightened in our own home in case they know where we live. They could have potentially stolen thousands, our life savings, but we were lucky because we managed to get help.”
Lancashire Police say since December there have been 65 reported incidents across the county with around £115,000 stolen from victims.
In each instance the victim has been contacted via phone by someone purporting to be a police officer and spun a story about being a fraud victim.
The victim is asked for their bank account details or they are asked to transfer a substantial amount of money to a ‘safe’ account.
Other victims are asked to withdraw funds from the relevant account as it needs to be checked for ‘fingerprinting’ by a so-called police officer who then attends the victim’s address and takes their money.
The scammers have targeted pensioners in Preston, Bamber Bridge and in East Lancashire, where Mr Davies now lives.
Det Insp Martin Melvin said: “These are despicable crimes against vulnerable, elderly victims.
“ I would like to remind people to be vigilant and if you get this type of phone call, report it to the police and 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.