People in Lichfield and Burntwood are being warned to be on their guard against a new phone scam.
Staffordshire Police say there has been a recent rise in fraudsters claiming to be from different police forces across the country.
The scam involves a phone call from someone using either the name of a real detective or a made-up alias. Victims are then told they need to withdraw funds and hand them over to an investigator.
Police say a number of vulnerable and elderly people who have been targeted have already lost thousands of pounds to the conmen.
Detective Inspector Kerry Skingle, from Staffordshire Police’s fraud and cyber crime unit, said:
“These scams can be extremely convincing and manipulative.
“The fraudsters may give fake crime numbers, investigation details and job titles. They will always claim that the transaction must be done in secret.
“The fraudsters condition their victim not to trust bank branch staff, which can make it hard for those staff to help.
“These calls are not genuine and payments should not be made. No legitimate bank or building society, police officer, or business will ever phone you to ask you to give them your card, your PIN, or your cash in this way.
“Don’t trust anyone who calls you about your bank details. Always hang up and wait 10 minutes to ensure the call has disconnected before calling 101.”Det Ins Kerry Skingle, Staffordshire Police
“Scams like this can be very elaborate, convincing and cruel”
Det Insp Skingle also urged people to make sure they carry out checks on callers.
“If you want to check they are legitimate, find their number via directory enquiries and call them back.
“Use a different telephone to make sure the line is clear. If they are genuine, you should be able to get through to them. You can also check what they are saying is true with your bank.
“Scams like this can be very elaborate, very convincing and cruel. If you think someone is trying to scam you, tell someone straight away. Don’t be pressured. Give yourself time to stop and think.
Det Ins Kerry Skingle, Staffordshire Police
Anyone targeted by the scammers is asked to contact Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040 or 101.”
Det Ins Skingle added:
“We are working hard to identify these cowards conning our elderly and vulnerable family members and friends and over the weekend two men were charged with fraud in a case similar to others in Staffordshire.
“However, we are asking for help from the public to spread this message throughout the wider community and would urge you to pass it on, particularly to elderly relatives or neighbours, information about these scams and ask them not to trust anyone who asks them for their bank details.”Det Ins Kerry Skingle, Staffordshire Police