A woman lost £2,000 when con artists swiped her bank details and cards in a far-reaching phone scam.

Police have warned people to be vigilant after Sylvia Lovelock became the latest victim of the scam, which tricks the victim into thinking they are talking to their bank and hand over their details and cards.

Swindlers scammed 63-year-old, from Richmond, by pretending to be police and said her account had been hacked and she needed to call her bank.

Mrs Lovelock, who suffers from mobility problems, said: “They said they were from the police and they had arrested somebody who apparently stole £826 from my account.

“It shook me up so terribly.

“They told me to get my card and call the number on the back of it and speak to my bank.

“When I called the number they didn’t hang up so I actually called them back.

“What I should have done was check for a dial tone but because I was calling my bank I thought it was totally safe.”

Mrs Lovelock then spent two hours on the phone before a courier came to her house and collected her cards.

When she visited the bank last week she found out there had been numerous transactions from her account to the tune of £2,000.

She said: “I feel absolutely gutted that I had actually done it. If I had known it was a scam I would have played it safe.”

Police have warned the public there are many different variations of the scam and police or banks would never send a courier to collect bank cards.

January saw a fall in so-called courier frauds, with 164 carried out London-wide this year, compared with 217 in January last year.

Police said the success rate was also on the decline, with 50 per cent of frauds in January ending with no money withdrawn from the victim’s account, compared with 70 per cent last year.

Operation Sterling, the police’s fraud prevention team, has been working closely with taxi and courier firms to raise awareness of how they may be used to carry out the crime and how they can help prevent it.

Mrs Lovelock said: “It is just unreal that people can do that.

“It’s so unnerving. It makes you feel distrustful of the world and distrustful of people, which is a dreadful thing.”