Fraudsters are operating across Leicestershire – and communities across the county and Rutland are being urged not to fall victim.
In recent weeks three reports have been received from victims in Melton Mowbray, Hinckley and Earl Shilton concerning a promise of money being paid to them if they take out a bank loan or mobile phone contract on behalf of someone else. One victim was also told they would receive money if they allowed funds to be transferred through their account.
However, the fraudsters have then been able to take control of the victims’ bank accounts or personal data and used them to apply for loans and withdraw existing funds.
Victims have also had access to their accounts blocked by their banks and are now struggling to open new accounts and cancel the fraudulent contracts and loans taken out. Some are also receiving worrying threats.
Nicole McIntyre, from the force’s Economic Crime Unit (ECU), said: “In each of these incidents, initial contact has been made by the scammer online – through Snapchat or Facebook Messenger.
“Some victims have met with the scammers in person or continued with transaction activity for a long period of time. However, they have been unaware of the full circumstances and how their actions are likely to contribute to money laundering activity.
“Our investigation into each of the incidents is continuing and I’d urge our communities to remain vigilant. Please make sure your friends and family know about this too. If you’re contacted over social media, you can never be 100 per cent sure who is behind that profile and if something sounds suspicious, it might lead to your involvement in long running, stressful fraudulent activity.
“Any information you can provide could also help. If you’re contacted by someone offering to pay you for taking out a bank loan or mobile phone contract – or transfer money to you with the promise you can keep some of it – then please report it to police and Action Fraud UK.”