ANOTHER pensioner has been targeted in a telephone scam that has swindled Essex residents out of nearly half a million pounds.

Shirley Murray, 77, of Scratton Road, Southend, received an “intimidating” late-night call from a fraudster pretending to be from the Metropolitan Police in Hounslow, claiming her bank card had been cloned at a cash machine and asking for her PIN.

The scam has seen 120 elderly Essex residents conned out of more than £400,000.

The conmen pose as police or bank staff and tell victims their accounts have been infiltrated.

They then claim that as part of their investigations they need to do forensic tests of the victim’s bank cards.

More than 780 similar thefts and attempted thefts have been reported in the county since the scam first came to light in January 2013.

In the latest attempt, on Thursday night, the fraudster said Mrs Murray’s nephew had been in touch with police about the con, despite her not seeing him for 14 years.

Mrs Murray said: “I thought it was too late for that type of phone call.

“They said they knew where I lived and I thought, ‘hang on, how do you know?’ “It really unnerved me. I said I would go to the bank the next day and check it in person and put the phone down.

“He then rang back and said, ‘don’t you dare hang up, this is a serious offence’. It got my heart racing, it was really intimidating.”

Mrs Murray refused to give her details and wants to warn other residents about the scam.

Police and bank staff will never ask for PIN numbers over the phone.

Police ask anyone who receives a suspicious phone call to end it and contact police from a mobile, a friend’s phone, or wait at least five minutes on their own phone, checking the line has cleared.

Four men have been remanded in custody charged with conspiracy to commit fraud.

Two women have been bailed until August 27.