Lancashire Constabulary – Three people arrested in connection with scam investigation
Detectives investigating scams in Lancashire involving vulnerable victims getting ripped off thousands of pounds by people falsely claiming to be police officers have made three arrests.
It comes as officers continue to warn people to be vigilant after two victims in the eastern county were tricked into buying and then handing over expensive Rolex watches, being cruelly tricked into thinking they were helping the police to investigate fraud.
The first incident saw a man in his 50s Darwen tricked into buying a £ 9,750 Rolex watch (pictured with a white face) from a store in Blackburn. The fraudsters, who falsely claimed to be Met Police, told him they suspected the store was selling fake Rolex watches and needed him to help them with their investigation. The man bought the watch last Monday (October 4) and a courier picked it up later the same day as “proof”.
The fraudsters also attempted to defraud the victim’s mother, who is 80, asking her to withdraw £ 8,000 as part of their bank fraud investigation. They also told her that there had been fraud on her bank card and to call 101. After she hung up, they stayed on the line to try again to convince her that she was talking to the police.
The second incident saw a woman in her sixties from Blackburn tricked into purchasing a £ 8,500 Rolex watch (pictured with a red face) from the same store as the other victim. Upon learning that she was helping Lancashire Police investigate a fraud, the victim purchased the watch on Friday 8 October and a courier retrieved it later that evening.
Fraudsters had previously attempted to trick the victim into withdrawing £ 5,000 from his bank account and also told him that there had been fraudulent activity on his bank card at Asda. It was an attempt to get his credit card information.
Lancashire Police Detective Sergeant Steve Craig said: ‘These scammers have no morals and will use several tactics to try and get victims to hand over money, their bank details or in these cases , valuable watches. Scammers target the elderly and vulnerable, so please let your loved ones know.
“It’s important to stress that the real police will never ask you for your bank details, money or help them with investigations in this way. If you get a phone call from someone saying they are the police or the bank, do not provide your account details and do not hand over cash. If you are not sure who an agent is, always call the police on 101.
“I would like to call local jewelers or pawn shop owners to get in touch if one of the two Rolex watches shown for sale is offered to you. I also ask you to be vigilant for any elderly or vulnerable person who walks into your stores and asks to buy an expensive watch. Although they can make a real purchase, they could also fall victim to this type of fraud. “
The three people arrested on suspicion of misrepresentation fraud over the weekend were a 27-year-old man from London, a 19-year-old man from Nelson and a 25-year-old man from Nelson. They have since been released on bail or under investigation, pending further investigations.
If anyone has any information that could aid our investigation or if you believe that you or a loved one has been the victim of this scam, please call the police on 101.
For help and advice on how to protect yourself from scammers, visit Action Fraud via https://www.fscs.org.uk/news/related/?topic=Action+Fraud&page=1 or call 0300 123 2040.