In just two days in Harrogate, police received four separate reports of conmen telephoning elderly residents to say there is a problem with standing orders, or that a fraud has taken place on their account.
A second person claiming to be from the bank then calls to say they are trying to sort the problem out and need their bank details and PIN number.
In some cases, the caller has visited the victim’s home and taken the actual card and PIN number. On two occasions, “large amounts” of cash were then taken from their accounts.
Det Sgt Hannah Wright, of Harrogate CID, said: “Elderly people have been duped by these despicable people who appear very plausible and genuine. They are smartly dressed and try to confuse people into parting with information.
“If you have elderly relatives or friends, please urge them not to hand over their bank details of cards and reassure them that it’s not impolite to refuse to answer your door or hand over information.”
She added: “These people must be stopped. If anyone else has been the targeted by them I urge you to contact the police without delay. Even if they did not succeed, please tell us as we need to gather as much information about them as possible.”
Officers would like to hear from anyone who has seen suspicious people or vehicles in the Crescent Road or Royal Parade areas of Harrogate in recent days or in the nearby villages of Killinghall and Burn Bridge.