Test Valley police have warned residents to be wary of courier fraud after two people in their 80s were the victims of an attempt to steal their money.

Officers said that an 83-year-old woman and an 86-year-old man, both living in Monxton, were phoned separately by fraudsters pretending to be police. The pensioners were told that their accounts were subject to fraud, asking them to transfer money.

One of the victims was threatened by the criminals, who said they would be arrested for interfering with an investigation when they refused to transfer their money.

Fortunately, both of the villagers refused to transfer the money and contacted Hampshire Constabulary.

In courier fraud, individuals pretending to be police officers contact an individual and say that money is being stolen from their account. The fake officers claim to be working with a bank to recover funds, and ask the victim to transfer money to a ‘safe’ account. Alternatively, they can ask their victims to withdraw money from the bank and give it to a courier, hence the name of the crime.

A spokesperson for Test Valley police said: “The scammers often say they are from a police station in London, that they are working undercover and that there is fraudulent activity on your account, when in fact it is them scamming you.

“They ask for your help to stop it from happening, and are very convincing. They may even tell you that your bank is involved, or know your full name and address.

“We want to remind you that a police officer would never call you and ask you for your money. No one, not even someone from your bank, would call and ask for your financial details or ask you to withdraw cash.

“If you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, report it to us by calling 101. If a crime is in progress, dial 999.”

Police advised members of the public to look out for elderly relatives and friends on this type of fraud, and to discuss it with them. They also suggested signing up to a free call-blocking service from a telephone provider to filter out some unsolicited calls.

To learn more about this type of crime and how to protect yourself, visit the Action Fraud website (http://orlo.uk/WaV0j) or by calling them on 0300 123 2040.