POLICE have issued a warning about the latest phone and online scams after more than 100 people were targeted in Dorset in one month alone.

Fraudsters claiming to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) or Talk Talk have tricked people into handing over personal details to gain access to their bank accounts.

A 70-year-old man from Wimborne lost £6,000 in the Talk Talk scam and detectives are currently investigating the crime. Most people have not suffered any financial loss.

Other recent victims of fraud in Dorset include:

John and Elsie Smith (pictured) from Christchurch were tricked into handing over £2,500 for repairs to their roof. A conman took the money and failed to return.

A 91-year-old Bournemouth man was conned out of £4,000 in a pre-aid funeral scam.

An elderly Bournemouth man lost £5,000 in a bank scam after a conman pretended to be a police officer.

A 70-year-old Lymington woman lost £24,000 to tricksters pretending to be from Visa.

In the latest incidents, fraudsters are cold calling members of the public to tell them that they owe HMRC a sum of money or that HMRC owe them a refund.

Criminals then obtain bank details and personal information from their victims and commit fraudulent activity on their bank accounts.

Some individuals have received an answerphone message and are advised to call 01202 281260 and 01202 834780, but these numbers are not connected with the real HMRC.

Dorset Police received 71 reports linked to HMRC scams in May, compared to one report in the same period in 2015 and three reports in May 2014.

In the Talk Talk scam it is possible that criminals may have acquired access to many people’s personal data, possibly from the internet.

Victims can then be manipulated by callers who appear to know some of their basic details, convincing them they are from Talk Talk.

There have been 86 reports of such calls in Dorset this year, 28 of them in May.

Detective Sergeant Andrew Kennard of the Economic Crime Unit, said: “Fraudsters will scam anyone - regardless of someone’s age, background or where they live, particularly the elderly.”

Sergeant Tim Farrell of the Dorset Police Cybercrime Unit said: “If anyone calls you unexpectedly and asks you to do something on your computer, please hang up and contact the company yourself to verify the call. Dorset is a safe place to live overall, but the offenders who commit cyber-crime know no boundaries.” They may be sat in another county, country or continent, but they commit crimes in our communities.

To prevent unwanted calls, mail and emails, register free of charge with the following services:

•Mail Preference Service – call 08457 034 599

•Telephone Preference Service – call 08450 700 707

•Fax Preference Service – call 08450 700 702

•Email preferences – visit www.dmachoice.org