Elderly victims targeted in phone scam

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Detectives have issued a warning following a series of fraudulent calls targeting the elderly in Burnley.

Incidents have been reported to police after calls were made to homeowners by a man purporting to be a police officer.

The calls, made throughout February, involved the man advising people that their bank card or bank account has been compromised and that the person should withdraw funds from the relevant account.

He then went on to say that the person should transfer money into a “safe account” or that they should withdraw money from their account which should be handed to a “police officer” for checking. The man then says that the money will need to be checked for fingerprinting by a “police officer” who then attends the victim’s address and takes their money.

Some of the victims – mainly aged in their 70s and 80s – have handed over money or transferred it into a fraudulent bank account, being scammed out of thousands of pounds.

DC Will Hogan said: “These are despicable crimes against vulnerable, elderly victims.

“This con artist has even been going so far to say that there were two men currently in police custody elsewhere in the country for trying to access that person’s bank account. He has been extremely plausible, providing a supposed name and police collar number, both of which are false.

“Despite current reports being confined to the Burnley and Preston areas, this offender may try elsewhere and so I am reminding people to be vigilant and if you get this type of phone call, report it to the police, your bank and/ or 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 happening so they can avoid becoming a potential victim.”

Anybody with information can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or through www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

Similarly, you can contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at www.actionfraud.police.uk