A number of attempted telephone scams in Stevenage have resulted in one victim in his 70s being conned out of £22,000.

Police are now urging people in Stevenage to be vigilant against telephone scammers following five reports of scam attempts in the town yesterday alone.

Sergeant Martin May from the town’s Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “We’ve received reports of con artists calling homes pretending to be from BT and attempting to get bank details from victims or asking them to transfer funds.

“In one case a man aged in his 70s was repeatedly targeted by scammers pretending to be from the telephone company.

“They managed to con him out of £22,000 before his bank alerted us. Our investigation is on-going.

“We’re also getting reports of people calling residents, pretending to be from HMIC and saying the victim needs to pay a tax bill.

“You should always bear in mind that callers may not be who they claim to be, even if they already seem to know details such as your name and address.

“Genuine callers would never ask you to withdraw or transfer cash from your account or ask you for your four digit bank PIN number. You should always keep this number to yourself.

“If you are in doubt, do not hesitate to put the phone down.”

Hertfordshire Constabulary offers the following crime prevention advice:

• Be sceptical of callers, even those who claim to be officials.

• NEVER give personal information, such as your date of birth or bank details, to unexpected callers.

• NEVER allow an unexpected caller to talk you through processes on your computer, like downloading new software or accessing your online bank account.

• Remember that the police or your bank would NEVER unexpectedly call you and ask you to withdraw cash or move your money to another account, as a result of fraud or any other reason.

• If callers suggest you call your local police or bank to check who they are, use another phone or ensure the line has been fully disconnected by phoning a friend or relative first, or by waiting at least three minutes, otherwise you may think you’ve phoned a number, but you’re simply talking to the fraudsters again. This is a common fraudsters’ tactic.

• If a caller asks you to type your bank PIN number into your telephone handset - do not do this, as fraudsters can use technology to identify the numbers.

• You can opt out of many cold calls by registering for free with the Telephone Preference Service on 0845 070 0707. Genuine computer firms will not call unexpectedly to help fix your computer. Fraudsters make these calls to try to gain access to your online bank account or to trick you into paying for something you didn’t need or to damage your computer with harmful software.

If you are concerned or you believe you may have already been a victim of fraud please contact police by calling the non-emergency number 101.

If a crime is in progress or has just happened always dial 999.