A WARNING has been issued after reports of fraudsters pretending to be police.

People have been told to be on their guard against criminals claiming to be working with West Mercia Police.

The scam, known as courier fraud, involves fraudsters pretending to be legitimate police officers who claim to be from the "fraud squad" or "New Scotland Yard".

But they are criminals targeting potential victims.

The fake officers will often tell residents their bank card had been used in a fraudulent transaction and use other actors to verify this.

They may then pretend an investigation is being conducted and get a fake colleague to collect the card. 

Other tactics include persuading people to part with cash or expensive items like watches, which are later collected by a fake courier, such as a taxi driver working with the bogus police officer.

The caller will tell their victim to call 999 to confirm the details to the police, except they stay on the phone, so when they think they have dialled the police, they are speaking to another person pretending to be an officer.

Often, fake police officers will mention an address and basic details about bank accounts before asking residents to place cards in a safe place outside their home or another specified location.

West Mercia Police said no one from the force would ask a person for payment or purchase, withdraw or transfer money, or request bank details.

A spokesperson for West Mercia Police said: "Incidents like these are being tackled as part of Operation Prospero, which directly targets offenders posing as police officers, working in conjunction with Action Fraud, the UK's national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre.

"Anyone who thinks they may have been contacted by a bogus police officer should call 101 or report it via our website."