POLICE are stressing people should hang up on fraudsters after a surge of calls from scammers pretending to be officers in recent weeks.

More than £70,000 has been handed over by victims, which West Mercia Police say includes people from in and around Worcester and Malvern.

In one case a victim withdrew more than £10,000 and returned home to give it to a courier, after a call.

The crime, often known as ‘courier fraud’ and which is understood to have affected at least 39 people, sees scammers call posing as police officers or officers from the Fraud Squad.

In the latest “ extremely convincing and manipulative” scam elderly people were called by a person calling themselves "DC Rose". Callers have been told they need to co-operate with their investigation, with the victim persuaded to withdraw funds and hand them over to ‘investigators’ either by some remote means or in person to a courier.

The victim is told if the bank cashier queries the large withdrawal they should say it is for home repairs or Christmas shopping. Alternatively the victim is told to hand over bank cards, or transfer funds to another account controlled by scammers.

Police stress no legitimate bank or building society, police officer, or business will ever phone and ask someone to give them a card, PIN, or cash in these ways.

Emma Wright, Detective Inspector from the West Mercia Police Economic Crime Unit, said: “We are working hard to identify these criminals and a number of arrests have been made and charges have been brought.

“November has seen a rise in the number of attempts to defraud elderly and vulnerable people out of their banked savings.

“Not all attempts of this scam are successful and it is reassuring to see that our clear messaging that no police officer will ever ask you for money on the phone is a message that people are hearing. Sadly however, some vulnerable people have been taken advantage of and have handed over thousands of pounds.

“Don’t trust anyone who calls you about your bank details or asking you to go to a bank to withdraw money.

"Always hang up and wait 10 minutes to ensure the call has disconnected before calling 101. If you want to check they are legitimate, find their number via directory enquiries and call them back.

“If possible, also use a different telephone line to make sure the line is clear e.g. a mobile phone or the phone of a trusted friend or relative. If they are genuine, you should be able to get through to them. You can also check what they are saying is true with your bank.

“Scams can be very elaborate, very convincing and cruel. If you think someone is trying to scam you, tell someone straight away.

"Don’t be pressured and give yourself time to stop and think.

“Please remember the police will never contact you asking for your bank card or cash."

"We will also never ask you to purchase expensive items or transfer money to a safe account. If someone does, it’s a scam – provide no details and hand nothing over, hang up and report it immediately to Action Fraud actionfraud.police.uk or 0300 123 2040.”

“We would ask the public to spread this message of caution and awareness throughout the wider community and would urge you to pass on, particularly to elderly relatives or neighbours, information about these scams and ask them not to trust anyone who asks them for their bank details or for money over the phone.”