Five incidents were initially reported to Greater Manchester Police between Monday 4 and Thursday 14 April, all of which appear to be linked, with a further five occurring recently between Friday 27 May and Wednesday 15 June.
So far, the offender has called the victims from an unknown number, claiming to be ‘PC/DC Matthew Philips’ of Greater Manchester Police, with a collar number of ‘5772.’
He is said to have told the victim that as part of the fraud investigation, they must withdraw cash from their bank account and a colleague will collect the money – amounts ranging from £2k to £70k.
Victims who have been in contact with police so far have been from the Bolton areas of Little Lever, Horwich, and Westhoughton, and have been described as being in their 70s and 80s.
Unfortunately, in two of the five cases, money was handed over to the offender, who was said to be wearing tracksuit bottoms and a hoody, with the most being in excess of £6,000.
So far, police investigations indicate that it appears to be a national issue, and that he is attempting to target people who he believes are vulnerable to this type of crime.
Detectives are still actively looking for any other similar incidents that may be linked to this series across Bolton and beyond – and would like to hear from any members of the public who may have information.
Our Bolton district’s Detective Sergeant Robert Parker stated: “We’d like to remind residents of five additional incidents involving a man posing as a GMP police officer and requesting large sums of money.
“Impersonating a police officer is illegal, but doing so to defraud innocent members of the community is a heinous crime, and we are doing everything we can to catch whoever is responsible.
“Because establishing the full picture of this offending is an important part of our initial investigation, I urge anyone who believes they may have been a victim of this scam to contact us online, if possible, or via 101.
“I must emphasise that no police officer would have a reason to randomly contact people and ask them to withdraw money, and if you ever have contact with someone claiming to be from the police and you’re unsure of their authenticity, you have the right to ask for proof of identity, or you can contact 101 if you’re unsure – always call 999 in an emergency.
“If you have been affected by this crime – or have any additional information – please contact us online, if possible, via our website’s LiveChat facility, or by calling 101.”
Details can be given anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers by dialling 0800 555 111.