A 77-YEAR-OLD woman was persuaded to hand over cash to a man a bogus police officer sent to her home in Taunton.

Avon and Somerset Police have launched an investigation and have released a picture of a man officers would like to speak to in relation to the incident.

The woman was contacted by phone by a man claiming to be a police officer from Hampshire investigating fraud on her account.

The bogus officer then persuaded her to withdraw cash from her account and give it to a man sent to her home.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: “The man who collected the money was described as aged in his 20s, about 5ft 6ins tall and of Asian appearance. He was wearing a white T-shirt and black trousers and had short black hair.

“The conmen told her not to tell bank staff why she was withdrawing the money and claimed it would help them ‘investigate’ the ‘fraud’.”

“Officers ask the man in the picture, or anyone else with information which could help the investigation, to get in touch.”

Contact police through www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/contact or by calling 101 quoting reference 5218111546.

Police asked people to be alert when answering the phone to anyone asking for bank details or for you to withdraw or transfer cash.

Banks and police officers will never ask for a PIN. Reputable callers will always give you time to verify their identification and will not hurry or alarm people. They will be happy to call back if someone wants a trusted person with them.

The police spokesman added: “If you’re suspicious of a caller who says they’re a police officer, ring off and call 101 to check. Similarly, check with your bank or other service provider using the number on your statement or in the phone book.”

Action Fraud is the national fraud reporting centre. Visit their website www.actionfraud.police.uk for a full list of scams and frauds and share the information if you have a vulnerable family member, friend or neighbour. If you think you have been defrauded, contact Action Fraud on 0300 1232040.