LANCASHIRE farmers have been warned about a new telephone scam after fraudsters impersonating bank security officials hit four businesses in the South-West of the county.

The National Farmers’ Union is urging its members to be cautious after the crooks conned four farmers out of around half a million pounds – in one case almost £100,000.

The NFU has been told how the fraudsters ring farmers to warn them their account has been compromised and advising them to contact their bank to transfer their money out of the account.

The victim is asked to phone the bank using the published number on the back of their debit card to confirm that the call is genuine.

The fraudster holds the line open in order to intercept this call.

They are then asked to provide internet banking log-in credentials, customer numbers, passwords or card and reader codes to transfer the money to another account.

In reality, the fraudsters transfer the money into their account.

NFU Lancashire County adviser Adam Briggs, said: “We are in contact with the banks and police about this issue.

“So far they have struck at four farmers in the South-West of the county but this is an indiscriminate crime. They could target farmers anywhere in Lancashire or, indeed, the North West.

“If you are contacted by somebody claiming to be from your bank, always call your bank back on a different line.

“Any NFU members concerned about this scam or fearful they may have been a victim should contact NFU Call First on 0870 845 8458.”