Fraudsters posing as police officers have been contacting residents in Hertfordshire in recent weeks.

During January alone fraudsters managed to scam victims in the county of more than £100,000 by calling them posing as police officers and asking them to hand over their bank cards or money to a courier.

Residents in St Albans, Hitchin and Buntingford suffered substantial losses, and one elderly Radlett resident was scammed out of £40,000.

These kinds of scams usually involve a telephone call via mobile or a landline number, with someone posing as a police officer and informing the victim of fraudulent activity on their bank account.

The victims are then instructed to put their bank cards and/or money into an envelope and give them to a courier or taxi, which is sent to their home by the offenders to collect.

In some cases, the victim may be asked to buy goods or vouchers. If bank cards are collected, they can be used later by the offenders to withdraw large sums of money.

The offenders may also ask the victim to disclose their bank details, including their account and PIN numbers, to aid the bogus investigation.

Detective Inspector Pete Hankins, from the Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, said: “This crime type has evolved over time. Criminals involved in courier fraud may still ask victims to withdraw cash or hand over their bank card and PIN."

The inspector reiterated that police officers or bank officials will never ask you for sensitive information, like a PIN or ask you to purchase high value items to assist them with an enquiry.

“Usually, the intended victim realises the call is not genuine and refuses to part with their personal and bank details. However, these fraudsters can be very persuasive and insistent, which has resulted in some people falling victim to this scam and subsequently losing thousands of pounds.”

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If you receive a call you’re not expecting, you should be suspicious.

The vital things to remember are that your bank and the police would:

NEVER ask for your bank account details or PIN number over the phone, so do not disclose these to anyone, no matter who they claim to be.

NEVER ask you to withdraw money or purchase high value items and send it to them via a courier, taxi or by any other means.

NEVER ask you to send your bank cards, or any other personal property, to them via courier, taxi or by any other means.

If you are not happy with a phone call and are suspicious of the conversation you have with the caller, then end the call and dial 101 or report online

In an emergency or if a crime is in progress call 999 immediately.

Remember, when reporting a suspicious phone call to police, wait at least five minutes before attempting to make the call to ensure you’re not reconnected to the offender.

Alternatively, use a mobile phone or a neighbour’s phone or test your landline by phoning a friend or relative first, to ensure you aren’t still unwittingly connected to the offender.

If you have concerns about your bank account, visit your local branch.