POLICE are warning people across Somerset to beware of financial telephone scams after a number of victims have come forward.
Fraudsters call victims claiming to be police or bank officials, give a convincing story and ask for money to be sent to London by taxi or via a courier who will collect it from their home.
Other scams involve the victim being told their bank cards have been stolen or that fraud has been identified on their accounts.
Again, the callers are persistent and convincing, will have the victim’s personal details and provide them with phone numbers which seem genuine.
The first instances happened in Weston, but there have now been reports of similar phone calls to people in Yeovil and Burnham.
Fraud investigator Barrie Douglas, of Avon and Somerset Police’s Serious Crime Group, said: “We’re urging people to be vigilant, especially vulnerable older people who are specifically being targeted.
“We advise people not to, under any circumstances, give out any banking details, especially PIN numbers, personal passwords for accounts, card numbers or any other details about their bank accounts.
“Banks will not ask for PIN details and will not send couriers to collect cash or bank cards.
“People should also contact us and their bank to report suspicious calls and arrange for cards to be cancelled if details have been given out.
“If possible, contact a friend, neighbour or family member to help you contact the police or bank using a different phone.
“In some cases we are aware that phone lines have been held open by the offenders.
“This week a man was duped into withdrawing £8,000 to be collected by a courier, but he became suspicious and alerted us.
“Under no circumstances should people withdraw cash from their bank accounts as a result of a phone call.”
Mr Barrie also advises people to call Action Fraud on 0300-1232040 to report incidents.