Police have issued a warning about 'advance fee fraudsters' after at least 45 people fell foul of their scams in just two months.
The fraudsters persuade victims to pay in advance for services or goods that do not exist or are never received.
During August and September, Humberside Police received 45 reports of such crimes against victims aged between 19 and 88 years old.
It said the fraudsters were currently targeting elderly people and residents living in rural areas.
Detective Inspector Kev Foster, head of cyber crime, said: ”These criminals are becoming more sophisticated in their attempts to con money out of people. They’re extremely plausible, and the goods or services they are “selling” seem real but often never exist.
A variety of cons might be used, including career opportunity scams, clairvoyant or psychic scams, cheque over-payment fraud, and dating or romance scams.
Other regularly used scams involve loans, rental fraud, vehicle matching, impersonation of officials, and working from home or business opportunities.
Residents have also been warned about “West African” letters, inheritance fraud, racing tip scams, and lottery, prize draw and sweepstake scams.
Det Insp Foster said: "We are urging everyone to help protect themselves from these scams and from financial fraud by being more aware and to follow some simple advice.
“Listen to your instincts and if something feels wrong then it’s usually right to question it. Never disclose security details such as passwords or PIN numbers. Don’t assume an email request or caller is genuine as people aren’t always who they say they are.
“Don’t rush into things. A genuine bank or organisation won’t mind giving you time to stop and think, and will not ask for your details. Stay in control. Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for your personal details. If in doubt, don’t give any of your financial details away.
“Please report anything to us that you think may be a scam as we will robustly pursue any complaint.”