HAMPSHIRE trading standards officers are warning about a new UK cash voucher scam targeting residents.

Fraudsters are making unsolicited phone calls to consumers promising them ready cash in a lottery, sweepstake or insurance refund.

Seventeen incidents have been reported in the last four months from all over Hampshire with six in the Winchester/Eastleigh area, two in the New Forest and others in Upham, Alton and Denmead.

The fraudsters often pretend to be bank officials, working for a government body, or lottery representatives, and try to convince consumers that their prize is genuine.

They phone the victims persuade them to go out and buy a cash voucher and then in a later phone call get them to pass over the voucher’s serial number. Once the scammer has the serial number, they are never heard from again.

Leader of Hampshire County Council, Ken Thornber, said: “This is a new scam which often targets vulnerable residents. In some cases elderly victims have been cheated out of hundreds of pounds as these cold callers can be so convincing with their stories.”