POLICE are warning people about a scam which has seen elderly victims conned out of more than £58,000 so far this year.
Fraudsters have been telephoning victims pretending to be London police officers investigating a fraud.
Victims are told their bank accounts are insecure and they have to withdraw all their money while a taxi is sent to their home to pick up the cash, or bank cards.
Detective Inspector Claire Storry, of Banbury CID, said: “It is despicable. They are picking on people who are very trusting, decent people, and it is vast amounts of cash between £5,000 and £30,000.”
Cherwell police have had 12 reports of the scam so far this month with money being stolen in four instances.
A 78-year-old woman was duped out of £15,000 savings in Banbury on January 7, a 72-year-old woman lost £9,000 in Adderbury on the same day, and a 71-year-old woman was tricked into handing over £34,000 in Upper Wardington near Banbury on January 9.
Det Insp Storry said: “These fraudsters tend to target an area of the country, hit that area and then move on to a different area.”
She said one victim was close to handing over thousands of pounds in cash when her daughter stopped her and called the police.
Det Insp Storry said she now wanted to spread word of the scam to stop more people falling victim.
She added: “We are desperately trying to get the word out so other people won’t succumb to it.
“We don’t know how they are getting their details but they are targeting the more elderly.”
Investigating officer Pc Bryn Smith, from Banbury police station, said none of the victims had been under the age of 60.
He said typically the caller tells the victim to ring the non-emergency police number 101 and ask to be connected to the caller to prove it was not a scam.
But the cold-caller does not hang up so the victim stays on the line while the conman pretends to be the operator.
He said the victims were also told that bank workers were part of the scam so they should not say anything to them when withdrawing the cash.
Pc Smith said: “It all adds up to a very clever pretence.”
The officer said local taxi firms and banks had been warned about the scam.
Anyone receiving such a call should report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.