An 87-year-old has been targeted by fraudsters in the latest of a string of thefts.

The woman from Chigwell was tricked into handing over bank cards that were used to steal £750 from her account on Sunday.

She was called late on Sunday and was gave her bank cards to a courier who went to her home at about 11.30pm.

She became suspicious and contacted her bank about 40 minutes later, but was unable to stop her cards being used to withdraw £400 from a bank in Chigwell and a £350 from a branch in Barkingside.

Other phone calls were made by scammers to people in Theydon Bois, Coopersale, Waltham Abbey and Loughton on Sunday and Monday.

Fortunately those people realised what was happening and called police.

The incidents are the latest in a series of crimes in which mainly elderly people are targeted and tricked into revealing their bank details or handing over bank cards or large sums of cash.

The latest tricksters claimed to be police officers based in Birmingham and told their victims their bank details had been obtained by thieves who were currently under arrest.

To obtain evidence against the ‘arrested suspects’ the tricksters asked for their victims to hand over their bank cards for forensic investigation for fingerprints.

More than 780 similar thefts and attempted thefts have been reported in Essex since January 2013, and similar crimes have been reported in London and other counties.

More than 120 people in Essex have been tricked out of money and the total stolen is more than £400,000.

A police taskforce set up to tackle the phone scams will feature on the BBC’s Watchdog programme tonight at 9pm.