Detectives are urging Cheshire residents to be vigilant on the back of several fraud offences having been reported to police since the start of the bank holiday weekend.

Between last Friday and Tuesday, May 28, Cheshire Constabulary was notified of scammers targeting people across the county.

The fraudsters claimed to be representatives of a bank, a building society, HM Revenue and Customs, the police and a Facebook lottery and told victims a range of lies in a bid to convince them to part with cash.

Detective Inspector Alastair Hinze, of Cheshire economic crime unit, said: “Callers purporting to be from HMRC told victims  that they owed money in unpaid taxes and would be arrested if they did not pay up.

“The other fraud offences involved a caller pretending to be a detective, who asked a victim to move money from one bank account to another to assist with an investigation, and requests for money to enable a victim to receive a large amount of cash they had been told that they had won on a Facebook lottery.

“A victim received a call from someone purporting to be from a bank’s fraud department telling them that they needed to move money from their ISA accounts to ‘safe accounts’ due to corrupt employees having access to them.

“Unfortunately, some of the victims have lost large amounts of money as a result of these scams.

“Sadly scams like this are very common, with people throughout the county and the country being targeted every day.

“Over-the-phone fraudsters can be very convincing and use a range of tactics to try to convince victims to part with their money.

“All these scams are orchestrated by serious organised crime groups.

“I urge people living in Cheshire to be vigilant and to follow our advice on how to avoid falling victim to such scams.”

Cheshire Constabulary’s scam prevention advice includes:

Telephone scams

• Police or your bank or building society will never ask you to become part of an undercover investigation or for you to withdraw money and hand it to them for safe-keeping, or to transfer your money elsewhere.

• Be wary of any calls, texts or emails purporting to be from the police, HMRC, your bank, your building society, your internet or phone provider or anyone else asking for your personal or financial details, or for you to transfer money (for whatever reason).

• Do not give anyone purporting to be from a telecommunications company access to any of your internet enabled devices, passwords or personal information.

HMRC and lottery scams

• If you receive a phone call – including an automated phone call – letter or email from someone purporting to be from HMRC saying that a warrant is out for your arrest for unpaid tax, this will be a scam. Report the scam to Action Fraud.

• If you receive emails or letters saying that you have won a large amount of money on an overseas or online lottery you have not entered, ignore them.

• If you have responded to such emails/letters/phone calls, break off all contact with the fraudsters immediately.

Anyone who believes that they have been a victim of a scam should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Cheshire Constabulary can be contacted on 101.