Burnley people are being warned against a loan scam which asks them to pay an up front fee.
Police said victims who may have been searching the internet for loans, have been contacted by telephone from people claiming to be from a loan company telling them that their request for a loan was successful.
They are then told that before the loan funds can be transferred, the “loan company” requires an arrangement fee to be sent to them by money transfer system first.
Once this has been done, more calls are made to victims requesting more money. No loan funds are ever received.
In some cases money has also been paid into a victim’s account and they have been asked to forward it on by a money transfer business such as Western Union.
Enquiries have revealed that similar scams are taking place around the country and the victims are normally people who find it difficult to obtain loans.
DC Scott Griffin, from Lancashire Constabulary’s economic crime unit, said: “These scammers are targeting desperate and vulnerable people with offers of loans.
“I would advise anyone applying for a loan in these circumstances to stop and think – especially if a company asks you to provide money up front.
“Be especially cautious if asked to send money by Western Union or other money transfer providers or if you receive money into your account and you are asked to transfer it on to a third party. “In these circumstances, victims are being used as money mules and forwarding on money that has been scammed from other victims.”
Anyone who has been the victim of advance fee fraud can report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at www.actionfraud.police.uk