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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Police make arrests over courier fraud in East Lancashire

Two women have been arrested and investigations are underway following eight reports of courier fraud in East Lancashire this month.

Victims have fallen victim to scammers pretending to be police, and been defrauded of a total of almost £100,000 worth of cash or other items.

The incidents reported to Lancashire Police happened across Darwen, Blackburn, Accrington and Oswaldtwistle.

Arrests made

On Wednesday evening, a 26-year-old woman from West Bromwich was stopped on the M6 and arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation.

This arrest relates to three incidents where it was reported that someone posed as a police officer and told victims they need to withdraw cash from their accounts and hand it to a courier for safekeeping. The woman remains in custody.

A second woman, 25, was arrested in Hull on Thursday on suspicion of fraud by false representation. She is currently in custody.

The incidents reported to police happened across Darwen, Blackburn, Accrington and Oswaldtwistle.

Scam

All victims have reported being phoned up by someone claiming to be a police officer at Lancashire Constabulary.

The caller gave a false name and collar number, before asking victims to assist with an investigation, or telling them that their card had been used fraudulently and they need to withdraw a substantial amount of cash and have it changed into Euros.

In total £96,500 has been scammed out of vulnerable victims, in Sterling and Euros and high-value items.

While a large amount of this was handed over to scammers, in some cases, families of victims intervened.

Across the various incidents several names of police officers were given, along with collar numbers but the names and numbers were not those belonging to Lancashire Constabulary.

Be vigilant

Police are urging people in Lancashire to be vigilant when it comes to courier fraud, and want to share some advice on how to prevent it:

  • Remember that the police, or your bank will NEVER ask you to assist with an investigation over the phone, withdraw or transfer money or buy high value items.
  • Make sure you verify who you are talking to. Clear the line, and phone police on 101 from a different phone, or wait at least two minutes to contact us, or a trusted person.
  • If you have been a victim of fraud, contact your bank on their genuine number to secure your finances.
  • If you ever have any concerns, ring 101 or contact Action Fraud.

Temporary detective chief inspector Mark Riley, of Lancashire Constabulary said: “These callous and cruel scammers have preyed on some of the most vulnerable people in Lancashire.

“Our enquiries are very much ongoing, and we now have two people in custody.

“We are now appealing to you, the public, to spread the word about courier fraud and what it looks like. If you and others know how to protect yourselves from it, you make it far harder for these frauds to work.

“If you believe that you, or someone you know may have been a victim of courier fraud, or you have any information about these recent incidents, we now urge you to get in touch. You can call 101 or report it through Action Fraud.”

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