Police in Bolton are keen to make the public aware of a series of incidents that have come to our attention this month regarding a man posing as a police officer who is encouraging victims to attend their bank and withdraw significant amounts of money.
Between Monday 4 and Thursday 14 April, five incidents have been reported to us that all appear to be linked – and we think there could be more that we may not have yet been told about.
The incidents so far have consisted of the offender contacting the victims from a withheld number stating that he is a detective from Greater Manchester Police investigating ‘bank fraud’.
He is understood to tell the victim that as part of the fraud investigation they need to withdraw cash from their bank account and a colleague will collect the money from them – this has ranged from values of £2k to £70k.
Victims that have been in contact with us so far have been from the Little Lever, Horwich and Westhoughton areas of Bolton, and have tended to be aged in their 70s and 80s.
Unfortunately in two of the five cases, money – the most being in excess of £6,000 – has been handed over to the offender, who was said to be wearing tracksuit bottoms and a hoody.
Our enquiries so far suggest one man is responsible for this series of incidents and that he is trying to target people that he thinks are vulnerable to this kind of crime.
We’re actively searching for any other similar incidents that could possibly be linked to this series across Bolton and beyond – and are keen to hear from any members of the public who may have information.
We’re also working to establish with the victims an accurate description of what the offender looks and sounds like, but do understand that he is a young man.
Please remember that no police officer will ask for you to withdraw money for any reason.
Every police officer has a warrant card to make their identity available to members of the public.
If you are unsure of an officer’s legitimacy then you are entitled to ask for them for their name and collar number – and can call 101 if unsure or 999 in the event of an emergency.
Detective Chief Inspector Dean Purtill, of our Bolton district, said: “We want to make local people aware of five incidents that have so far been brought to our attention about a man purporting a police officer from GMP and asking for significant amounts of money to be withdrawn.
“Impersonating a police officer in itself is illegal, but to do this to defraud innocent members of the community is an appalling offence and we are doing what we can to conduct several lines of enquiry to catch whoever is responsible for this.
“A big part of our initial investigation is to establish the full picture of this offending, and therefore I urge anyone who may think they too have been a victim of this scam to contact us online, if able, or via 101.
“I must stress that no police officer would have a reason to be randomly making contact with people and asking them to withdraw money, and if you ever have contact with someone saying they’re from the police and you’re unsure of their genuineness then do know you are entitled to ask for proof of identity, or can contact 101 if unsure – always call 999 in an emergency.”
If you have been affected by this crime – or have any further information – then please contact us online, if able, via the LiveChat facility on our website, or by calling 101.
Details can be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.