SCAMMERS masquerading as police officers in the Vale of Glamorgan have conned two elderly Penarth residents out of thousands of pounds.

The con artists have been targeting individuals locally in recent weeks, by devising a series of elaborate backstories and pretending to be police detectives in order to get victims to hand over money or valuable items.

In the past fortnight, South Wales Police has received dozens of calls from people in Cardiff and the Vale who have been on the receiving end of the scam, including from two vulnerable people from Penarth who had handed over significant sums of cash.

One of the victims, an 80-year-old woman, was contacted by someone impersonating a detective inspector from the Metropolitan Police.

After being told her bank account had been compromised, she was advised to call 161 to ensure the authenticity of the call which she did.

Another man, also claiming to be a detective inspector, answered and advised that the call was genuine. They told the victim that she needed to withdraw more than £8,000 which they would arrange to have collected from her home.

The victim followed their instructions and handed over the money.

And in a separate case, an 86-year-old man from Penarth was repeatedly contacted by a ‘detective’ and a ‘superintendent’, and was told two of his credit cards had been subject to fraudulent activity.

Advised to withdraw money to stop the fraud, the victim withdrew thousands of pounds in foreign currency, all of which was collected by ‘couriers’ using local taxi firms.

During other calls, victims were told a family member had been arrested, while others were told to visit cashpoints and draw out thousands of pounds or purchase expensive items, which would then be collected from their home.

In each case, the person calling had claimed to be a detective, and proved so convincing that many of those contacted had willingly handed over the money or bank details as requested.

Detective inspector Paul Raikes, said: “These scammers are extremely persuasive and convincing and are often very successful in duping people in to handing over substantial amounts of money.

“Many of this week’s victims have been elderly, but the truth is anyone can be targeted by these scammers and I’d urge everyone to be on their guard and to talk to their friends and loved ones about the scams.

“The more awareness there is of them, the less successful these fraudsters will be. Anything suspicious should be reported to us immediately.”

Detective Inspector Paul Giess, from the economic crime unit, added: “While many of the victims in these cases have been elderly or vulnerable, I cannot stress enough how sophisticated and well-rehearsed these scammers are, and any one of us could fall victim to their con if we are not vigilant.”

He added: “My message to the public is simple – the police, or any other legitimate organisation for that matter – will never contact you in this manner.

“All calls of this nature are a scam, and the person receiving the call should hang up as soon as possible.”

Anyone who thinks they may have fallen victim to a scammer should report it via 101, or alternatively by contacting Action Fraud on 0300 1232040.