A 90-year-old man lost “£64k” after being tricked into buying gold bars in a scam fraud investigation.
The victim was told that his bank card had been cloned after being called by a fake fraud investigator earlier this month.
The offender then told the victim that he needed to make certain purchases so they could see the activity on his account.
Detectives said the 90-year-old man was told to buy gold bullions on two occasions.
These would then be collected from his address by the fraudsters.
The scam was reported to the police at the end of last week, with the victim having lost “a total of around £64,000”.
Lancashire Police Fraud Safeguarding Officer, Helen Grimshaw, said: “This type of criminal is despicable as they prey on people’s trust and vulnerability.
“We know that any fraud like this can have huge repercussions on victims’ mental health.
An elderly man was scammed out of thousands of pounds in Thornton-Cleveleys
“We are asking members of the public to remain vigilant and to report anything suspicious to us straight away.”
This type of crime is known as ‘courier fraud’ and usually involves a criminal impersonating either the police or a bank official, police said.
They will coerce the victim into believing they need to withdraw money or purchase jewellery or high value goods to help with gathering evidence.
Often they will suggest the caller rings their bank or 999 to verify the call is genuine, but the criminals don’t hang up which means they can stay on the line.
A ‘courier’ will then be sent to collect the package from the victims home address.
“Please share the below messages with friends, neighbours and family, particularly those who are elderly or vulnerable, who are often targeted,” Helen added.
“We’ll be doing all we can to intercept these incidents and bring the offenders to justice but we rely on your help to get these messages out there.”
Police urged residents to remember:
– Neither the police or your bank will ever ask you to withdraw or transfer money, and they will never ask you to buy high value items such as Rolex watches or gold bullion.
– Just because someone knows your name and address doesn’t mean a phone call is authentic.
– If you want to check how genuine a caller is, make sure you hang up and listen for a dialling tone before ringing another number. Otherwise the caller could still be on the line.
– It is ok to say no. If you have concerns or suspicions hang up the phone and call someone you trust such as a family member or friend.
– If you think you have been a victim of fraud you should contact your bank immediately.
– If you believe a crime is taking place, call 999.
– All other reports can come through to the police on 101.
– If you feel able to, report incidents to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
– Advice and support is also available on the Action Fraud website actionfraud.police.uk.