ELDERLY people in Hampshire are being targeted by scammers following a spate of courier fraud.

Hampshire Constabulary is warning local residents across the whole of Hampshire to remain vigilant after an increase in incidents of courier fraud since the end of October and throughout November.

The crimes commonly involve an unexpected call from someone who purports to be a police officer or a staff member from their local bank, or an employee from an internet or phone provider.

They then tell the victim that their account has been subject to fraudulent activity, or is in danger of being closed and then request the victim assist them with the ongoing investigation, with this involving: being asked for detail about their financial accounts and bank cards, being sent to their bank to withdraw money, or being asked to buy high value goods, or grant the caller access to their computer or phone, by downloading an application.

Hampshire Constabulary received six reports of suspected courier fraud between Tuesday, November 2, and Tuesday, November 16 from communities in Alton, Liphook, Petersfield and the surrounding areas.

Residents affected lost a combined £17,600 to fraudsters.

The offences, which have been targeted at residents between the ages of 75 and 88 have resulted in the victims losing an average £3,000 each.

A Hampshire Constabulary spokesperson, said: “The public are our first line of defence in offences of this nature. It is really important for them to understand that the police, government agencies such as HMRC and banks will never make unsolicited calls to them, in order to try to obtain financial information, ask them to withdraw money from their bank, or to surrender money, goods or their bank cards.

“These incidents can often have a significant impact on victims – both emotionally and financially – as they come to terms with the fact that they have fallen for a scam, and the financial losses that come with it. However, we want to ensure that those individuals do not become repeat victims, educate them and their loved ones and ensure that fraudsters can no longer take advantage of Hampshire residents.

“If anyone receives a call of this nature, they should not engage with the caller and hang up.

“Hampshire Constabulary are committed to bringing an end to offences of this nature and will take steps to identify and prosecute the individuals responsible.”