Police are appealing for information after receiving reports of a phone scam that resulted in two people in their 80s handing over large sums of money.
Officers are also warning Devon residents to be wary of the scam, in which the caller poses as a police officer.
Detectives say they have received an increase in calls about this scam in recent weeks, particularly in the Exeter, South Devon, and Plymouth areas.
In one case, the victim was persuaded to hand over more than £15,000, and in another, more than £9,000.
They were also asked to provide some of the money in foreign currency or to purchase expensive watches only to hand over as part of the scam.
According to reports, the male caller poses as a police officer in London named ‘Sergeant Martin Spencer,’ who is investigating the unauthorised use of the person’s bank card.
He also advised them not to tell anyone about the call because it could jeopardise the police investigation.
“We are advising anyone who receives such a call not to give any personal information and to hang up immediately,” Detective Inspector Guy Biggar said.
“This type of call is linked to courier fraud, in which victims are encouraged to withdraw funds from their bank accounts or give bank cards to a courier, arranged by the ‘police officer’ making the call under the guise of ‘assisting with a police investigation.'”
“We will never contact people to request banking information or to withdraw money from an account to aid an investigation.”
“Fraudsters frequently target geographical areas where they know elderly or vulnerable people live,” he continued, “so we are asking that if you have family or friends who are vulnerable in any way, you make them aware of this scam.”
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, you can seek assistance from Action Fraud. You can also report suspicious emails, messages, or phone calls to the National Cyber Security Centre.