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Dawn raids saw three people arrested in Gorton as part of a police investigation into a series of dating app fraud incidents across Greater Manchester.
This morning (Tuesday 5 May 2020) officers executed three warrants at three addresses in Gorton.
The warrants were executed as part of Operation Sunbird formed by GMP’s Specialist Fraud Investigation Unit into 21 offences committed between October 2018 and March 2020 where suspects posed as women on dating and messaging apps to coax victims into paying out large sums of money into a bank account.
Once the victim has made one payment the suspect would message then demand more money and threaten them with violence.
Most victims reported the offence to the police, at which point there was no further contact from the suspects. Although the victims were not approached in person sums ranging from £17,000 to £20 were paid out with the average loss being £3,000.
Detective Sergeant Ian Thomas of GMP’s Specialist Fraud Investigation Unit said: “I would like to thank our officers involved in Operation Sunbird for making these arrests today despite the challenging climate we’re all facing.
“We now have a total of three people in custody due to the excellent work of our officers at GMP’s Specialist Fraud Investigation Unit.
“We’d urge anyone who thinks they have been a victim of this type of crime to report any suspicious messages or threats to police.
“Our officers are fully committed to ensuring the safety of people online across Greater Manchester and would advise residents to follow our guidance when using dating applications.”
Anyone with information should contact police on 0161 856 0074 , Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 / www.actionfraud.police.uk or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
GMP guidance on online messaging and fraud prevention advice: