Ribble Valley OAP tricked out of thousands of pounds by fraudster posing as police officer

Detectives investigating scams involving people falsely claiming to be police officers have released CCTV of a man they want to speak to in connection with a report in the Ribble Valley.

A fraudster contacted a woman in her 80s from Longridge falsely claiming to be from Lancashire Police and asked the victim to withdraw £8,250 as part of their investigation into bank fraud.

Believing she was assisting a genuine Lancashire Police officer the victim then went to withdraw the money from the bank and a man posing as a courier collected it later in the evening. The incident happened on October 22nd.

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Police have released the CCTV image of a who can be seen walking along Springs Road, Longridge at around 5-03pm. Do you recognise him? Officers need to speak to him in connection with their investigation.

Police have released a CCTV image of a man posing as a courier who collected the cash from the pensioner

In the past month elderly victims, from Lancaster, Blackburn and Preston, have reported receiving phone calls from fraudsters purporting to be police officers claiming there had been suspicious activity on their bank cards. Thankfully, the majority have terminated the call before disclosing bank or credit card information, but others have sadly also fallen victim to the scam with a total loss of more than £40,000 to date.

Det Sgt Ash Johnston, of Lancashire Police, said: “I would appeal to anyone who recognises this man to please contact us with any information they think might help with our enquiries. Likewise, if this is you, then I would encourage you to contact us.

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“Scammers target vulnerable people so please make your loved ones are aware of this latest scam that is happening in Lancashire. If you do receive a call, immediately report the matter to the police as soon as possible.”

If you ever receive a phone call from somebody stating they are a police officer and you are unsure they are who they are claiming to be, you can terminate the call and ring 101 and check that their name and collar number is genuine. Always ensure that you hear a fresh dialling tone because sometimes fraudsters will stay on the line after you think the call has been disconnected and pretend to be a police call handler.

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Police also want to make it clear that Lancashire Police would never ask for cash or for your bank details or those of your loved ones. If you suspect a fraud is taking place or something is not quite right, always disconnect the call.

Police added: "Can we ask that everybody reading this to please inform any elderly or vulnerable relative, friend or neighbour about this latest scam. We appreciate that not everybody is on social media and we really need your help spreading the message far and wide.

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"If anybody has any information which could help our investigation or you believe you or a loved may have been the victim of this scam please call police on 101 quoting log 1025 of October 22nd."

Earlier this month three people were arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation, a 27-year-old from London, a 19-year-old man from Nelson and a 25-year-old man from Nelson in connection with the courier frauds in the East of the county. They have either since been released on bail or released under investigation, pending further enquiries.

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For help and advice about how you can stay safe from scammers visit Action Fraud or call 0300 123 2040.