POLICE are urging residents to be on their guard following a series of phone scams in East Dorset.

On Wednesday, January 31, an elderly woman received a phone call from a man purporting to be a police officer.

He said that someone was trying to scam the woman and that she needed to withdraw 8,000 Euros and the ‘officers’ would step in to arrest the so-called scammer as she handed the money over.

The victim went to the bank in a taxi that had been arranged by the scammer but it was closed.

She returned to the bank the following day and asked to withdraw £7,000.

She told staff the money was for a kitchen, but staff became suspicious and alerted Dorset Police.

The woman told cashiers that someone from the police had attended her home that morning asking for the money.

Officers attended the woman’s home Rothesay Drive. No offenders were located and no money was lost.

Four incidents were reported to Dorset Police on Wednesday, January 31 and Thursday, February 1 by residents living in Highcliffe, Wimborne and Christchurch.

In three cases, the scammers purported to be from the police and one claimed to be calling from BT. The victims were told their bank accounts had been hacked.

Detective Inspector Neil Wright, of Dorset Police, said: “The offender targeted a vulnerable woman and purported to be a police officer in an attempt to steal a large amount of money from her. I would like to thank the bank staff for their quick thinking and diligence in reporting this incident to us promptly.

“I am appealing to anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the Rothesay Drive area on Wednesday or Thursday this week to please contact us.

“Over the past few days we have experienced an increase in the number of calls from concerned members of the public reporting fraud involving people claiming to be from the National Crime Agency (NCA) or police officers.

“Please remember, the NCA or police officers will never ask you for any money. If someone calls you claiming to be a police officer ask for their collar number and surname and check their identity with the police force they are claiming to be from.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101, quoting occurrence number 55180016718.