The victim was telephoned at around 2pm yesterday by a man who claimed to be a sergeant from Humberside Police.
He told the victim, a woman from Harrogate in her 70s, that he was part of an under-cover operation and that they have arrested two men who they believe have withdrawn Â£16,000 in cash from her bank account before replacing it with counterfeit money.
North Yorkshire Police said the culprits also told her that they believed someone in the victim’s bank may be involved and they required her help to rectify the situation.
The caller said that he required the victim to go to the bank and withdraw Â£9,200 in cash in the hope that there would be some of the counterfeit money in the cash bundle.
He persuaded her to withdraw the money from her bank under the guise that she was using it to buy a car. The victim reluctantly agreed, withdrew the money and returned home.
She was then told that a police officer would go to her home and to collect the money using the password ‘MOORE’.
A man turned up, provided the password and the victim handed over the money.
The caller reassured the victim and said that he would return update her. When he did not show up, she contacted police to ask where he was and it became apparent that she had become a victim of fraud.
Investigations are ongoing and the victim is being supported by officers.
Detective Inspector Jon Hodgeon, head of North Yorkshire Police’s Major Fraud and Economic Crime Unit said: “These heartless fraudsters typically prey on the elderly and pretend to be police officers to gain their victims’ trust.
“Please remember that the police or your bank will never ask you to withdraw or transfer money from your bank account to aid an investigation.
“Please be extra cautious if you receive a call of this nature and never give out or confirm personal or financial information to anyone over the phone.
“If you have any suspicions at all do not engage in conversation and please hang up the phone. They will try to cause panic and fear to get you to collect money for them.
“If you believe you have been a victim of this type of crime, call us on 101 or report it to Action Fraud by visiting actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. In an emergency dial 999.
“If you have any information regarding those responsible for such crimes, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Use the reference number 12180060776 when passing on information.