A GOLD bullion scam circulating North Yorkshire has resulted in victims losing almost £500,000 in two incidents in the last month, police have said.

The scammers contact the victim claiming to be from the police and state they are monitoring fraudulent activity on their accounts which are under threat. The victim is told the police are conducting a major fraud enquiry into the bank’s activities and they require the assistance of the victim to catch the fraudsters. The scammer urges the victim to remove the money from their bank account as soon as possible, claiming it is at risk if they leave it there.

The victims in both of these incidents have then been directed to purchase large amounts of gold bullion in order to support the police investigation. The bullion is then collected by a ‘courier’ the scammer sends to the victim’s home, reassuring the victim they will keep the gold in a safe, secure place until the investigation has concluded.

Head of North Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit, Detective Inspector Jon Hodgeon said: “Although we have come across this type of what’s known as ‘courier fraud’ in the past, it’s highly unusual to see two incidents in such a small time frame and with substantial amounts of money being lost.

“Courier fraud is unfortunately very common, but this added step of persuading the victims to purchase large amounts of gold bullion gives great cause for concern.

“The scammers invest a lot of time and effort in doing everything they can to present themselves as legitimate, ringing from different phone numbers and posing as other members of the police force to add credibility to their elaborate story.

“You might read this and think that you would never fall victim to a scam of this nature, but you cannot underestimate how manipulative and extremely clever these scammers can be.

“Please remember, the police or your bank will NEVER contact you and ask you to move or transfer money. We will never ask you to lie to your bank or your family and we will certainly never ask you to purchase gold bullion.

“If you receive a call like this, hang up immediately. If you are ever worried about any calls you receive speak to a family member, friend, your bank or ring the police.”