RESIDENTS of Worcestershire are being asked to keep in touch with elderly loved ones – particularly if they are frail and vulnerable – to help prevent them falling victim to telephone scammers.

New research shows that about 90 per cent of the county’s residents receive between 5 and 30 nuisance calls a week and among those there are some telephone conmen and women.

And 17 per cent of Worcestershire adults surveyed said they had lost money to scams in the past year – while about a third of those only lost £1 to £50, 13 per cent lost between £500 and £10,000 and four per cent were scammed out of more than £10,000.

In the past five years West Mercia police has run a major campaign to crack down on scammers posing as bank officials or police officers saying a person’s bank card details have been fraudulently used.

The person targeted is told to hang up and ring the bank or police but the callers stay on the line and tell the householder to reveal their pin number.

Detective Inspector Emma Wright from West Mercia Police said: “Thankfully the majority of people contacted in phone scams realise it is such and put the phone down. Sadly though there are some cases where criminals do gain access to a victim’s accounts and personal information and this is a matter we take very seriously.

“These crimes are particularly distasteful as they often target people who are isolated, elderly or vulnerable. We have run a strong campaign to raise awareness of these offences with the public so that, together, we can prevent them. We are asking our communities to help us spread the word.

“Remember a legitimate company would not ask you to divulge full passwords or bank details and phone calls about deals and lottery wins that sound too good to be true very often are.

“You can find more information about phone scams and how to prevent becoming a victim on our website If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud please report it to us on 101.”

The YouGov survey done on behalf of call blocking company CPR Call blocker identified the top five phone scams in Worcestershire as:

1. Computer virus scam – being called by so-called ‘Microsoft Windows Support’ who inform you of a virus on your computer and asked for your passwords to fix it

2. Bank account or HMRC scam – someone claiming to be from the bank or HMRC saying there is a problem with your account/tax bill, requesting security details including PIN

3. Pensions and investments scam – you are told about an ‘unmissable’ investment opportunity or offered pension liberation or bonuses

4. Missed calls scam – you receive a message asking you to call back a number which is a premium rate line

5. Lottery/prize scam – you are told you have won a large prize and are asked to pay a processing fee or call a premium rate line to claim your prize

Bryony Hipkin at CPR Call Blocker said: “Scam and nuisance phone calls continue to be a major problem for consumers in Worcestershire and it’s often the most vulnerable people in society who are falling victim to telephone scams.

“Scammers have a real knack of finding people when they are at their weakest and most vulnerable and they really exploit that. I want to encourage people to stay in touch with elderly loved ones. A lot of scammers are using the tactic of getting to know that person, becoming a friend to them and then on the fourth or fifth call they start making the request.

“Our customer base tends to be those aged 55 and over who want to eliminate nuisance and scam calls for good.”

The company suggests three steps can help to reduce the risk of falling victim to a phone scam and stop unwanted calls:

• Sign up to a free Telephone Preference Service by calling 0345 070 0707 or visit

• Remove your phone number from directories and look out for tick boxes on all marketing correspondence to see if ticking or unticking them will prevent your details being passed on to third parties

• Consider getting a call blocker