PHONE-CALL fraudsters pretending to to be police officers are attempting to steal money from the bank accounts of elderly and vulnerable people in the four counties of Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Shropshire.

Both West Mercia Police and Gloucestershire Constabulary have put out urgent warnings that criminals are phoning people up and posing as police officers, before attempting to obtain bank details.

Detective Inspector Emma Wright of West Mercia Police said: “We’ve received reports of fraudulent calls occurring across our communities, whereby criminals are impersonating police officers asking their victims to part with cash.

“We’re pleased to see that some members of our communities are beginning to recognise scam calls and we are hugely grateful that you’ve continued to share these messages with your loved ones. You’re helping to save them from becoming victims of crime."

She added: “Whilst our officers are working hard to investigate these incidents, we are once again asking you to reach out to elderly friends and family and remind them that a police officer will never ask them for money or to transfer funds to a courier. If this happens to you, it’s a scam. Provide no personal information and hang up, wait 10 minutes, then call us on 101."

The fraudsters are manipulative and try to convince the person they are calling that they are assisting with an ongoing investigation, or that they are under investigation themselves for offences such as money laundering.

In one incident in Gloucester on Friday March 19, a phone call fraudster claimed the victim's National Insurance number had been located in a car which had crashed.

The scammers said they had completed some checks and found that money was being laundered through their bank accounts, so their bank would soon be frozen.

The two fraudsters, a man and a woman, told them to open a new account and transfer over thousands of pounds, but when the victim said they did not have online banking, the fraudsters tried to convince them to withdraw £1,000 from the bank and go to a supermarket to buy £100 gift cards instead."

A Gloucestershire police spokesman said: "They may tell the person being conned not to tell anyone else about the call, including their own family or the bank.

"They will then arrange for a courier to come and collect the items - either cash, gift cards or other expensive items - at a location such as your home or place of work."

The spokesman added: "Neither police nor bank officials will ever ask you to withdraw money from your account, purchase anything or hand over your personal details or passwords."