ELDERLY people in Marlborough are being targeted by con artists who have tricked them into handing over bank details.

The fraudsters are posing as officials from their banks during phone calls or even by visiting their homes.

A police spokesman said: "We are urging residents to be vigilant after a spate of scams where people have been defrauded by criminals posing as their bank.

"Throughout August and September we have responded to numerous incidents where elderly people have either received phone calls or been visited at their home address by people claiming to represent their bank.

"These people have been persuaded to hand over their bank cards and pin numbers, and quantities of money have then been withdrawn from their accounts.

A number of elderly people in their 80s, some with dementia, living in Marlborough have been conned but the fraudsters have also been operating in the villages to the south of the town and in Salisbury.

Two men, aged 24 and 26, both from the London area, have been arrested in connection with the series of frauds and have been released under investigation.

Police believe the offences could be linked to cross-border criminal activity.

Det Con Jayne Wilby, from Salisbury CID, urge people to be cautious to avoid falling victim to the scams.

She said: "We would like to remind people of some basic crime prevention advice which could help keep you and your money safe.

"It is really important that people are aware of these types of scams – the scammers often target elderly, vulnerable people, so please share this information with your elderly relatives and neighbours so they are aware of the importance of not giving out personal details over the phone or to cold callers.

"Banks would never contact you in this way. If you are unsure, always hang up and contact your bank directly, or call the police on 101.

"These types of fraudsters are also known to encourage people to hang up and call their bank to verify the legitimacy of the call - but they keep the phone line open, playing a dialling tone, so you think you're calling the bank but really you are still on the phone to the criminals.

"So the safe thing to do is either call the police or your bank from another line, or wait five minutes before attempting to call them, to give time for the line to clear.

“We also know that there could be more victims out there who have not felt able or comfortable reporting it to the police. If you think you may have been targeted in the same way then please call the police or Action Fraud.”

Anyone wishing to report a scam phone call should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via the online reporting tool: www.actionfraud.police.uk

Alternatively you can call Wiltshire Police on 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress.