A campaign is urging people to cut off phone scamsters.
National Neighbourhood and Home Watch Week is underway, with the awareness drive focusing on criminals who try and trick people out of cash and details over the phone.
New research shows that £23.6million was lost in this way in the UK over the course of a year.
Durham Constabulary and Neighbourhood Watch is working in partnership with Financial Fraud Action UK to advise members of the public of how to avoid falling victim to these scams.
Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Lyn Peart, of the force’s fraud and cyber crime unit, said: “Phone scams are widely used by criminals to con people out of their hard earned cash and savings.
“Always be wary of unsolicited calls, even if the caller claims to be from a trusted organisation like your bank or the police.
More information and details of local groups can be found via Neighbourhood Watch’s website, www.ourwatch.org.uk.