Residents in Gloucestershire have been told to stay vigilant after a phone scammer posed as a police officer.

Gloucestershire Police said it received two calls on Wednesday (April 29) from residents in Stroud, who both said they had been contacted by someone posing as an officer.

In both instances, the caller gave his name as Thomas Matthews and said he worked for the force’s fraud team.

He claimed the victim’s bank cards had been used to buy a washing machine.

Gloucestershire Constabulary is urging people to make their elderly friends, relatives and neighbours aware that this is happening.

Gloucestershire Police

Gloucestershire Police said scammers often target a particular area for a number of days before moving on - and so urged others to be vigilant.

Anyone who receives a similar call should hang up and ignore their instructions.

The scammer posed a police officer. Credit: PA

How do I know if I’ve been called by a scammer?

Neither police nor bank officials will ever ask you to withdraw money from your account, purchase anything or hand over your personal details or passwords.

If you believe you are being targeted by a scammer, hang up the phone and use a different phone line to call Action Fraud or the police, as scammers often have a way to stay on the line and will pretend to be the police when you call back.

If you don’t have access to a different phone line, wait for a period of time and try calling a family member or friend first to make sure the scammer is no longer on the line.

Just because someone knows basic details about you like your address or date of birth, it doesn’t mean they are a genuine bank or police employees.

If you think you or someone you know has been defrauded, you can report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.