A TELEPHONE scam targeting the elderly and vulnerable has struck the Wycombe area repeatedly since the start of 2014 – prompting a warning from police.

There have been 11 incidents of a ‘courier fraud’ scam in the district since November 16, with eight happening this month – and the most recent in Marlow on Wednesday.

Other areas hit by the scam are Stokenchurch, Holmer Green, Hazlemere, Hughenden Valley, and Princes Risborough.

Deputy Area Commander, Ch Insp Colin Seaton, said: “These offences have taken place across our area and we all need to do what we can to prevent any more from happening.

“I would like to ask everyone who has elderly or vulnerable family members, friends or neighbours to let them know about the scam.

“In all of these cases the victims received calls from fraudsters who told them their card details had been used fraudulently and to hang up and call their bank or the police immediately.”

The scam sees the victim receive a phone call from fraudsters who claim they are from their bank or the police. They say they are calling because of ‘suspicious activity’ on their account and advise them to call the bank from the number on the back of their card - which can cause the victim think the call is genuine.

The victim disconnects the phone and dials their bank or police – but the fraudster has kept the telephone line open so even though a new number is dialed, no new connection is made.

This means the victim is still on the phone to the fraudster, who now poses as a member of the bank staff and asks them to either state or key in their pin, before telling them their card will be collected and a replacement delivered.

Once the fraudster has all the information they need, a courier is sent to collect the card from the victim and a replacement is delivered at the same time, which is not a genuine bank card.

Ch Insp Seaton, added: “We are also working closely with taxi companies in the area who might be used as a courier service to make sure we do all that we can to prevent any more incidents from happening.”

He issued the following advice:

• Your bank and/or the police will never ask for your PIN.

• Your bank will never attend your home to deliver a replacement card or to collect cash .

• Your bank and/or the police will never collect your bank card.

If you have any information please contact the Thames Valley Police Enquiry Centre on 101 or call charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at ww.crimestoppers-uk.org