At least five people in Devon and Cornwall have become victims of a scam which persuades people to invest substantial amounts of money in rare earth metal oxides.
Devon and Cornwall Police are warning members of the public to be wary of the scam which has claimed millions of pounds nationally.
The scam involves cold callers persuading victims to invest substantial amounts of money in rare earth metal oxides.
Police said the victim tends to be elderly and contact is usually made by telephone.
Following pressurised selling, the victim transfers a considerable amount of personal savings into seemingly bone fide company bank accounts in the hope of a future substantial return, which in fact never materialises.
Detective Sergeant Mark Newnham urged members of the public to be cautious of 'cold callers'.
He said: “The extent of this scam is huge and anyone could become a victim of persistent fraudsters.
“Although there are bone fide companies who deal legitimately in metal investments this particular fraud involves investment in very poor valued or worthless commodities.
“Genuine companies do not ‘cold call’ and use intimidating and persuasive tactics and I would urge anyone who is contacted out of the blue regarding such investments to think very carefully.
“Do not agree to invest on a whim without making basic checks into the company”.
If you think you have been a victim of this fraud, contact Fraud Action on 0300 123 2040 or report online at firstname.lastname@example.org.