POLICE are warning it is only a matter of time before cruel hoaxers try a trick dubbed the Courier Con in Dudley.

West Midlands officers are urging communities to stand against phone scammers who fool elderly victims into handing over bank cards and PIN numbers.

Fraud officers have seen a surge in the con across the Midlands and say although there have been no reports of incidents in Dudley this year, vulnerable people in the borough are sure to be on the crooks’ hit list.

West Midlands Police Chief Inspector Adrian Atherley, said: “The scammers claim the target’s bank account has been hacked and advise them to hang-up and phone the number on the back of their card. However, because the fraudsters don’t themselves hang up, the victim is unwittingly still on the line to them rather than their starting a fresh conversation with their bank.

“They are then asked to hand over PIN numbers, either verbally or by keying them into the handset, and are told a courier will arrive to collect their cards. And of course armed with the cards and PIN the account is at their mercy.

“Police officers or genuine bank officials would never call and ask you to divulge PIN numbers over the phone or send couriers round to collect cards.”

Shockingly in one of the worst cases an 88-year-old woman lost more than £3,000 in January after being falsely told men had been arrested for tapping into her bank account.

She also handed over £200 in cash to the fake courier after fraudsters told her they needed to seize her last withdrawal as evidence.

She agreed a password with the caller and also received daily updates from the heartless thieves claiming the suspects were being quizzed and urging her not to discuss the case with anyone – but the follow-up calls were designed to give them more time to spend the lady’s money.

Chief Insp Atherley, added: “These con artists are cold, calculated thieves. Their tactic is to scare and confuse elderly people into handing over sensitive information and they are convincing.

"Our advice is always to be wary of unsolicited callers, whether on the phone or in person, and if in doubt, hang-up or close the door and call police.”