CROOKS posing as police officers defrauded a woman for thousands of pounds after making her believe she was aiding officers in an investigation.

A lady living in Comeytrowe withdrew thousands of pounds in foreign currency after being contacted by fraudsters claiming to work at the ‘Taunton fraud department.’

Under the guise of assisting the ‘fraud department’, the victim was convinced to turn over the cash to a ‘courier’ who would take the notes away for ‘analysis.’

Police described the ‘courier’ as a male of black heritage, around 5ft 10 inches tall with short black afro-style hair.

It was only after the courier failed to return the money, which he promised his victim he would, that she realised the event had actually been a scam.

Officers encouraged anybody with information about the incident to dial 101, giving the reference number 5224017297.

Issuing advice on how to avoid scams, Avon and Somerset fraud protect officer Amy Horrobin said: “No police officer will ever ask you to hand over money, sensitive banking information or valuables to help with any criminal investigation.

“If you are asked to do that by someone claiming to be a police officer, it is 100 per cent a scam. No ifs, no buts.

“These fraudsters are predatory and seek to pressurise potential victims, who want to do their best to help the police. They play on victims’ good nature.

“They will put time and effort into trying to convince you it is legitimate – for example, getting you to check the officer’s name you are given is part of your local police service or a password to give to the courier – but the reality is it is just a part of the scam.

“If you get such a call, telling you ‘police want you to withdraw money’ or hand over valuable items, it is without doubt a fraud attempt and you should not do it.

“We’d advise you hang up the phone. Then report it to Action Fraud either online or by phone – if calling we’d advise to use a different phone or leave it a few minutes and check the fraudster has not left the line open before trying to dial.

“It is really important that such cases are reported because it helps us build up a picture of what is happening so we can try to prevent such fraud attempts being successful in the first place and also follow any lines of enquiry that may be available to identify the perpetrators.”