CRIMINALS are posing as police officers to try and steal money from elderly and vulnerable people.

Dorset Police is warning residents of the latest sophisticated scam to hit the county.

One person nearly lost £6,000 in the scam after being contacted by someone pretending to be a Metropolitan Police officer.

Since yesterday, seven incidents have been reported to the force, all within the Sherborne area, in which an ‘officer’ has called to make them aware of a fraudulent use of their bank card.

The fake officer has asked for further information about the victim’s bank account and has threatened the victim with arrest if they express reluctance.

No-one has lost money but advice is being given in case more people are targeted.

In one of the incidents a resident received a telephone call from a person claiming to be an officer from the Met who said that her her bank card had been cloned and a person had tried to use it in Brighton.

The bogus officer requested that the recipient of the call 'assist' the police by withdrawing £5,700 in cash from her bank account, which she did, and he would call on her address to collect the money.

Fortunately, the victim confided with a family member who immediately called Dorset Police. Sherborne officers were then able to protect the resident and work with her bank to protect her account.

The report to Dorset Police followed a previous incident of a similar scam in nearby Yetminster.

On the evening of Monday, February 5 a man with short dark hair aged in his early 20s, knocked at a house in Yetminster, asking to use the telephone to call a friend as his car had broken down.

He then left and said he was going to wait with his car.

The next day the resident received a phone call from a man claiming to be a chief inspector from the Metropolitan Police who had arrested the young man who was in possession of bank cards in their name.

The bogus officer said to confirm who he was the resident should hang up and call 999.

Fortunately the residents were ‘scam aware’ and knew a line can stay open for two minutes so scammers can remain online and play a dialling tone to trick individuals into thinking they are calling a telephone number when in fact, they are talking to a scammer.

Typically the scammer will then ask the recipient for their card details to verify that they match the fictitious cards.

Inspector Neil Wright, of the Priority and Volume Crime Team, is urging everyone to hang up on any suspicious call.

He said: “We won’t ever ask for personal information over the phone and neither will your bank. Some victims have been pressurised with the threat of arrest if they don’t give the caller the information they’re being asked for and that’s certainly not something a police officer would say.

“I’d also urge family, carers and friends of elderly and vulnerable people to make them aware of this scam and make sure they know to hang up the call.”

Following the incident police have issued the following advice:

The police would never make a call of this nature, so don’t engage with the fraudster, just hang-up the phone

Never give bank details over the phone

Don’t be rushed - even if they say it is important, don’t give them any personal information

If you want to give your bank a call after one of these phone calls, always use a different phone line.

You can report suspicious calls to Action Fraud by visiting or by calling 0300 123 2040.

A spokesman for Dorset Police said: "Although anyone can fall for a scam, some people are vulnerable and more likely to be targeted. People who can be especially vulnerable to scams include older people and people with mental health problems, learning difficulties or dementia.

"If you are a carer, relative, friend or neighbour of someone who is vulnerable you may be the only person who can stop them being scammed. Talk to the vulnerable people in your life and make sure they know what to look out for when it comes to scams."