BOGUS bank officials have stolen thousands of pounds by tricking customers into handing over their personal identification numbers.

North Yorkshire Police said the suspects had stolen their victims’ purses by sneaking into staff rooms, typically in health centres or care homes.

They then rang the victim up at their place of work, pretending to be from their bank, informing them they believed someone was attempting to use their bank card and that in order to cancel the card, they required a number of security details, including their PIN.

They then used the PIN to steal money either using cash machines or calling into various branches to withdraw the money.

A spokesman said the fraudsters had struck in Northallerton, where they stole a purse from a doctor’s surgery staff room and then withdrew thousands of pounds from banks in Darlington, Harrogate and Leeds.

Officers are warning members of the public not to give their personal identification numbers to anyone under any circumstances.