Vigilant staff at Lloyds Bank in Barnstaple stepped in to prevent an elderly local woman being defrauded of £8,000 through a sinister scam.

The woman in her 80s had tried to withdraw the money, saying it was for a friend and she mentioned purchasing a car, but would not give further details.

Concerned staff feared she was a scam victim and contacted police, who discovered the lady still had the scammer on the phone as they tried to convince her to pay them £8,000.

It is thought they contacted on her home phone and pretended to be from another police force before convincing her to go to the bank and withdraw the money before depositing it into another account.

Police said this was the third incident in North Devon they had attended where an elderly person had been scammed, but alert bank staff managed to stop the transaction before the money was lost.

If you think a call is a scam, hang up, don’t enter into conversation with them and use call blocker if you have one. If you think you’ve been a victim, let your bank know and call the police via 101.

More information is available at www.thinkjessica.com

or www.devon-cornwall.police.uk .

What to look for – five signs of a scam phone call

1. The caller doesn’t give you time to think, tries to stop you speaking to a family member or friend or is insistent and makes you feel uncomfortable.

2. The caller asks you to transfer money to a new account for fraud reasons.

3. They phone to ask for your four-digit card PIN or your online banking password. Even if they ask you to give it to them by tapping into the telephone keypad rather than saying the numbers out loud, this is a scam.

4. They ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them for safe-keeping.

5. They may say that you are a victim of fraud and offer to send a courier to your home to collect your cash, PIN, payment card or cheque book.

If you think a call is a SCAM:

* Hang up

* Use call blocker if you have a system on your phone

* Do not enter into conversations or correspondence with them.

If you think you have been a victim:

* Never suffer in silence

* Let your bank know to stop any activity on your account immediately

* Ask family or trusted friends to help you

* Call the police, 101 (non-urgent) or 999

* Report to Action Fraud and Trading standards