POLICE have seen a new spike in "extremely convincing and manipulative" fraudsters pretending to be officers.

West Mercia Police says it has been made aware of a new rise in criminals pretending to be cops in an attempt to steal from people in Herefordshire in scam known as courier fraud.

Officers now want everyone to be on their guard.

Chief Inspector Emma Whitworth said: “This type of fraud often targets older and more vulnerable people and we would urge everyone to tell someone, by passing on the information about the bogus callers to relatives, friends and neighbours who may not have heard about the local telephone scam in operation.

“Following several reported unsuccessful attempts to defraud people using this scam in the last few days, I would also ask the public to get in touch with elderly and vulnerable friends and family to warn them of the risk and to know what to do.

“Always remember that no police officer from any force or department will ever ask you to hand over money or transfer funds, regardless of their name or unit. I would like to reassure the community that we are investigating these crimes and want to hear from anyone who has been contacted in this way.”

“These scams can be extremely convincing and manipulative," she added.

Chief Inspector Emma Whitworth said fraudsters may give fake crime numbers, investigation details, and job titles.

“These calls are not genuine and payments should not be made," she said.

"No legitimate bank or building society, police officer, or business will ever phone you to ask you to give them your card, your PIN, or your cash in the way we've described above.

"Don't trust anyone who calls you about your bank details. 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.

“Use a different telephone to make sure the line is clear. 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.

“This scam 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. Give yourself time to stop and think.

“Please remember the police will never contact you asking for your bank card or cash. If someone does, it's a scam – provide no details and hand nothing over, hang up and report it immediately to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or 0300 123 2040."

“If the crime is still in progress, because for example, you have recently provided bank details or handed over cards or cash, or the caller has arranged for someone to visit your address to collect items, you should call the police to report this on 101. In an emergency dial 999.”