A PENSIONER has been conned into handing over £13,000 as police warn of a rise in ‘courier fraud’ targeting the elderly and vulnerable. 

The incident occurred on Thursday when a man purporting to be an officer from Lancashire Police – under the name PC Alex Hunter – called the victim on her mobile phone and said he needed her to withdraw cash from her bank as part of a fraud investigation into money laundering. 

She then left the cash outside in a plastic bag to be collected, as instructed by the caller. A man, posing as a courier, arrived to collect the money from the address in the Bank Top area of Blackburn for two separate pick-ups, one at around noon and the other at around 3.30pm. 

He is described as an Asian man wearing traditional, grey coloured clothing and a blue woollen hat. 

Officers from the economic crime unit have launched an investigation and are now appealing for anyone who saw a man in the area or witnessed anything that they think could help with their enquiries to get in touch.

It is the third case in a week where elderly and vulnerable Lancashire people have had money stolen from them in this way.

Lancashire Police are keen to remind the public that officers will never ask them for money.

DI Mark Riley said: “These fraudsters are very convincing and will say all the right things to gain your trust, but they are not real police officers. 

“A police officer or detective will never cold call you at home or on your mobile to ask you to collect money from a bank or for any of your personal financial details.

“We would also never ask you to keep an investigation a secret from your family members or friends. This is the first major warning sign for people to look out for. If you are asked not to tell anyone about a phone call, let that be a signal to you that you need to end that call and get in touch with someone you trust to get their advice.

“The older generation is very trusting and they have the desire to help. But please have the confidence to ask for help and terminate any phone call where you are being asked for money. Leave the phone line clear for several minutes so that when you make another call the fraudster isn’t still on the line.

“These unscrupulous scammers target elderly and vulnerable people so please make your loved ones are aware. If you do receive a call, immediately report the matter to the police as soon as possible.”

“The impact these types of crimes have on victims is significant and sometimes victims don’t want to share what has happened due to embarrassment so we would encourage
Anyone with information or CCTV footage that could assist with our investigation can contact 101 quoting 0278 of October 8.