Lincolnshire Police have warned of the dangers of disclosing personal information over the phone after a woman in her 70s was scammed out of £5,000.
The woman, of Keelby, was contacted on her phone by a man claiming to be from the fraud squad at Hammersmith Police in London earlier this month.
He told the pensioner that money in her bank account was at risk of fraud and she should freeze her account.
She was directed not to tell anyone about the call, and to withdraw £5,000 from her bank account.
The victim was told by the caller that a security man would then come to her home, give her a code, and hold onto the money for safekeeping.
She followed the instructions and a man subsequently came to her home and took the money from her.
Inspector Simon Outen said: “This is an absolutely vile and cruel crime that plays on victims’ feelings of trust and worry that they are being defrauded.
“Most right-minded people reading these details will feel absolutely outraged and incensed at the callousness with which these scam artists are robbing people of thousands of pounds worth of cash.
“My heart really does go out to the victim in this case and to the many others, not just in Lincolnshire, who will have fallen victim to a similar fraud.
“I would appeal to the criminals involved to consider how they would feel if this happened to someone they cared about?
“But the sadness is that they have no compassion or consideration for others so the best way we can combat them is to try and ensure even more people know about their scams and will not become victims.”
Lincolnshire Police have said that this incident is one of a number that have been reported to them in recent months.
Inspector Outen added: “The victims are in no way to blame in these types of situation, the caller on the other end of the phone has details about them which it is very easy to believe could only be obtained by honest means, but what we want is for everyone to be aware of the details of these scams so if they are approached in the future they know what to do.
“Please remember that no genuine caller from a bank or similar organisation will call you and ask you to reveal details over the phone, nor will they ask you to withdraw money and hand it over.”
People who are unsure about a caller’s identity should ask them for a contact name and number to ring them back and check it against the number for the organisation they are claiming to be from.
Similarly, if anyone is contacted by someone claiming to be a police officer, they should take their details and contact the police force’s control room to check if they are who they claim to be.
If you have experienced anything like this contact Lincolnshire Police as soon as possible on 101.