Fraudsters claiming to be police officers persuaded elderly victims to withdraw more than £29,000 in cash before sending couriers to collect the money from their homes.

Essex Police are investigating three reports of fraudsters targeting victims, all aged in their 80s, in Frinton and Walton.

In each case, the criminals claimed to be police officers who were investigating counterfeit money at a bank.

They persuaded their victims to withdraw large sums of money from their accounts.

They then sent a courier to collect the money from their homes.

A couple in Frinton and a couple in Walton were targeted on January 8, and a couple in Frinton received a similar call on January 5.

The criminals took more than £29,000 in total.

Detective Sergeant Michael Evans, of Clacton CID, said: “These criminals are callous and despicable, taking advantage of people’s trust to take their life savings.

“We are continuing our enquiries to find those responsible and urge anyone who has received similar phone calls to please contact us.

“I also ask people to please be vigilant, as these fraudsters are very persuasive.

“Police officers, law enforcement agencies and banks will never ask you to send money, bank cards or other personal property via a courier, taxi or other means.

“They will also never ask for your bank account details or PIN over the phone, so please don’t disclose these to anyone.

“Challenge anyone who asks you for this – a genuine caller will not mind. If you are suspicious the caller is not genuine, end the phone call.

“Wait at least five minutes to ring your bank to check with them the validity of the call, or use another phone, as fraudsters can wait on the line.

“Report any suspicious calls to us so we can investigate."

Anyone with information should call 101 or contact the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111 or use the anonymous online form.

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