1. ITV Report

Fraudsters con Dorset's elderly out of more than £1m

It has cost people in Dorset more than £1,100,000 since it started in 2014 Photo: ITV Reconstruction

Elderly and vulnerable people in Dorset have been conned out of more than a million pounds in two years by 'phone fraud' gangs.

Police are warning people not to trust anyone who calls them - until they are absolutely certain who they are.

Dorset has been the target of phone scams because of a high population of older people, with criminals pretending to be bank workers or even police officers.

The average age of victims is 79 Credit: ITV Reconstruction

Pat Burnham from Dorset and her sick husband were targeted by fraudsters in the last two weeks of his life.

The conmen took £135,000 of the couples money.

Pat and her husband were targeted by conmen Credit: ITV News

I don't think it contributed to his demise but it was very sad that he had this worry over that period.

I was running round like a scared cat over hospitals and it all played into their hands.

– Pat Burnham

Fraudsters will commonly pretend to be bank staff or police officers investigating irregularities with an account.

In Pat's case they pretended to be both - they had Pat and her husband believing they were helping police prevent a fraud when in fact they were handing money over as part of one.

When she found out she'd been the victim of fraud, Pat says she felt more embarrassed than angry...


  • no organisation - including a bank or the police - will ever ask for any banking details over the telephone
  • if anyone phones and asks for those details never give them and report them
  • you can contact the non-emergency police number 101 or contact Action Fraud on0300 123 2040
  • if you think you have given over your details by mistake, dial 1471 to try and find out the number the caller called from
Police are warning this type of crime is on the rise Credit: ITV News

This type of crime is so prevalent now that police say the default position should be to not trust what you hear until you know for certain who you are talking to.