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Free call blockers for victims of courier fraud

Vulnerable residents in Lancashire could be eligible for a free blocking device to help prevent scam phone calls.

Lancashire Police’s Economic Crime Team has teamed up with trueCall for the initiative which sees a device fitted to a home telephone that can block up to 90% of recorded messages, silent calls and numbers not already pre-identified by residents and their families.

We are currently seeing a rise in courier fraud – this is where you receive a call from someone saying that they are from the police or your bank, and asking you to withdraw money from your account and give it to a courier. The call blocker puts a stop to this.

We are working hard to ensure that those who have been targeted by this crime are made to feel safe and protected from this happening again. The call blocker devices prevent the scammers from getting through to those they look to trick and defraud. The device can be set up so that the only people who can get through to homes protected by one of the devices are those on a recognised caller list.

Please remember that these criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching so they can trick you in to believing them and doing what they ask.

Helen Grimshaw Fraud Safeguarding Officer at Lancashire Police said: “These are vulnerable people for who the telephone is their lifeline in terms of daily contact. Most people have had experience of some sort of nuisance call and it’s frustrating in terms of daily life. Imagine feeling frightened to answer the phone and now bring in other vulnerabilities and all of a sudden you have someone in a really frightening situation. These types of crimes are devastating to people’s lives and the criminals are ruthless in terms of hoping to catch someone off guard and defraud them of their life savings. Following the installation of these devices people feel much safer in their homes, and it gives family and those caring for them peace of mind. We are delighted to have been able to safeguard those victims in this way and will try our best to secure more of the devices to give to those who need them most in Lancashire.”

The police or your bank would NEVER ask you to withdraw money or purchase high value items. In relation to this crime they may ask you to dial 999 or the number on your bank card to check their credentials. They ask you not to hang up before you dial. The criminals remain on the line and it is another criminal who will verify the information, which adds another layer to the story. Please make sure you hang up and hear a dial tone on your phone, before you make another call.

Always check someone is who they say they are, anyone who is genuine will never mind waiting while you check their information. They will never rush you or try to frighten you in any way.

To find out more about the project or make a referral email fraudsafeguarding@lancashire.police.uk.

Anyone who believes they have been contacted fraudulently or been a victim of fraud should call us on 101 and Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

For more fraud prevention advice visit https://www.actionfraud.police.uk

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