VULNERABLE victims have been defrauded out of more than £50,000 by so-called 'courier fraudsters' and police are urging vigilance.

A courier fraud is when a victim receives a phone call from someone claiming to be from the police or their bank’s fraud team.

They usually tell the victim they are investigating the bank due to allegations of theft from customers.

They then instruct the victim to withdraw money and hand it over to a courier to be used in evidence against the bank.

Three separate incidents involving this method recently occurred in Harrogate.

At the end of March a 60-year-old man was conned out of £5,000.

He refused to travel to London to hand the money over in person, but he agreed to pass it to a courier.

An 80-year-old woman almost lost £6,500 on March 30 but thankfully the victim became suspicious after speaking to and receiving fraud advice from her bank.

The suspect did not re-contact her.

Two suspects targeted a 65-year-old woman between March 31 and May 14. One man claimed he was working for the VISA fraud team and she was passed through to another man who pretended to be a police office.

Over the coming days and weeks, the victim was persuaded to withdraw her money from the bank and to buy gold as a safer investment.

When the gold arrived at the woman’s address, she agreed for it to be collected by a courier to be put into safe storage. She lost £50,000 in total.

North Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit is continuing to investigate these incidents.

Detective Constable Neil Brodhurst, a Fraud Investigator, said: “Courier fraud is clearly a despicable and malicious crime which preys upon vulnerable people who are genuinely frightened that their life savings are at risk.

“It is vitally important for residents to know that the police or a bank would never contact people in this way.

"They would also never ask for highly personal information such as PINs and bank account numbers over the phone.

“If you or someone you know receives such a call out of the blue, the best advice is to end the call straight away and report it to the police and the bank for investigation.”

For fraud information visit