Fraudsters are swindling more people than ever using the most sophisticated techniques.

Online, doorstep and telephone fraud are rife in South Lakeland, with heartless criminals preying on the elderley.

Cumbria Trading Standards are warning the public to be vigilant as fraud offences rose by 25% in the last year alone.

Ruthless con-artists pose as bank managers or phone companies who want to perform ‘routine checks’ on their accounts.

They then ask unsuspecting people to tell them their account details before defrauding them.

Mike Smyth, Cumbria Trading Standards manager, is urging people to ‘just say no’ to cold callers and refuse to give them any bank details.

Mr Smyth said: “Scammers can’t continue to get away with fleecing people of their hard-earned money. We want to see a fight back against scams.

“Scammers often target the most vulnerable, such as older people, with sophisticated scams such as posing as their bank or phone company.

"People regularly come to us with heart-breaking stories about con artists taking their money and it’s important that people know what to look out for and what they can do to protect themselves.

“Anyone who is unsure about someone asking for their financial details should check with someone they trust and report anything that sounds suspicious.”

To find out more on how to avoid fraud in Cumbria visit or report fraud to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

If you have been the victim of fraudsters using the techniques similar to those outlined above contact our reporter Patrick Christys on