Residents have been warned to be vigilant after two people in East Lancashire were "cruelly" tricked into buying and handing over Rolex watches, having been deceived into thinking they were helping a fraud investigation.
The first incident saw a man in his 50s from Darwen conned into buying a £9,750 Rolex watch from a store in Blackburn.
The fraudsters, who falsely claimed to be from the Met Police, told him that they suspected the shop was selling fake watches and they needed his help in their investigation.
The man bought the watch and a courier came to collect it later the same day as 'evidence' on Monday (October 4).
Officers said the fraudsters also attempted to defraud the victim's mother, who is in her 80s, by asking her to withdraw £8,000 as part of their bogus investigation into bank fraud.
They also told her there had been fraud on her bank card and to call 101.
After she had put down the receiver, they remained on the line in a further attempt to convince her she was talking to the police.
Det Sgt Steve Craig, of Lancashire Police, said: "These fraudsters have no morals and will use multiple tactics in a bid to con victims into either handing over money, their bank details or in these cases valuable watches.
"Scammers target elderly and vulnerable people so please make your loved ones aware."
He added: "It is important to stress that genuine police officers will never ask for your bank details, money or for you to help with investigations in this way.
"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.
"If you are ever unsure about the identity of an officer, always call the police on 101."
The second incident saw a woman in her 60s from Blackburn conned into buying a £8,500 Rolex watch from the same store as the first victim.
Having been told she was assisting a fraud investigation, the victim purchased the watch and a courier collected it later in the evening on Friday (October 8).
The fraudsters had earlier attempted to get the victim to withdraw £5,000 from her bank account and had also told her that there had been fraudulent activity on her bank card at Asda.
Detectives said this was an attempt to obtain her credit card information.
"I would like to appeal for local jewellers or pawn shop owners to get in contact if you are offered either of the two Rolex watches pictured for sale." Det Sgt Steve Craig said.
"I would also ask that you remain vigilant for any elderly or vulnerable people who come into your stores and ask to buy an expensive watch.
"Although they might be making a genuine purchase, they could also be the victims of this kind of fraud."
If anyone has information which could help police with their investigation, or you believe you or a loved one may have been the victim of a scam, call 101.
For help and advice about how you can stay safe from scammers visit the Action Fraud website by clicking HERE or by calling 0300 123 2040.
The three people who were arrested included:
- A 27-year-old from London
- A 19-year-old man from Nelson
- A 25-year-old man from Nelson
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