Police in Chichester have seen a recent increase in scamming offences in and around the city, and are warning people - and particularly elderly and vulnerable people - to be on their guard against being conned.
Sussex Police say that local banks and building societies have also been made aware and will call police if customers asking to withdraw large amounts of cash give any cause for concern.
Latest scams have involved victims being telephoned by fraudsters purporting to be police officers, bank officials or representatives of other seemingly trustworthy organisations.
They provide a convincing reason for people to withdraw a large amount of cash which will then be collected by a courier.
Detective Constable Claire Daysh, of Chichester investigations, said: ”We think it’s possible that the offenders are going through telephone directories to obtain the addresses and numbers of potential victims.”
She warned that offenders and their stories were often extremely plausible, another trick being to get victims to part with personal details, PIB numbers or bank cards, and added: “Genuine organisations would never ask anyone to do this.
“These criminals do target the most vulnerable members of our community, so please alert your relatives, neighbours or friends who you think might be susceptible to such an approach.”
If at all suspicious, people should avoid using their own telephone for several minutes after a suspicious call, to avoid the possibility of the line being held open by the offenders, but instead contact police on 101 as soon as possible using a mobile telephone or a neighbour’s landline, quoting Operation Edisto.
They can also email email@example.com or report details to the police online here.
Should a visit from a courier have been arranged or carried out very recently, dial 999 immediately.