A "MANIPULATIVE” telephone fraud scam is targeting elderly and vulnerable people, police have warned.

Despite the details of each report varying, all involve a caller pretending to be from HRMC or the police, persuading the victim to hand over bank details, personal details and/or money.

West Mercia Police have received reports regarding incidents in Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford, including from a seriously ill woman in her 70s, who was threatened with prison for tax evasion by a fraudster.

Inspector Emma Wright, of the constabulary’s economic crime unit, described the scams as often “extremely convincing and manipulative” and are being investigated as part of Project Prospero.

She said: “No legitimate bank/building society, police officer, government organisation or business will ever phone you to ask you to give them your card, your PIN, or your cash in the way we've described.”

Anyone who is called by a potential scammer should hang up and not provide any personal details or hand anything over, before waiting 10 minutes before making another call.

Then go to actionfraud.police.uk or 0300 123 2040.

If the incident is still in progress, because for example, you have recently provided bank details or handed over cards or cash, or the caller has arranged for someone to visit your address to collect money/items, call the police on 101.

In an emergency – if somebody is threatening you or has come to your home to demand money/items – dial 999.