By Daniel Hunter

£24 million was lost to phone scams last year, according to Financial Fraud Action, sparking a major awareness campaign.

Financial Fraud Action said the £23.9m lost is triple the amount in the previous year. Research suggests that 58% of the public have received suspicious phone calls, up from 41% in the previous year.

UK banks and the police have joined forces to launch a major campaign aimed at increasing people's awareness of phone scams.

The growing trend in phone scams is to make people believe they are their bank or the Police, claiming their money isn't safe in their bank account and recommending it should be moved to a 'safe' account.

People are often encouraged to hand over personal information like PIN numbers and bank account numbers. They are then told to hang up, and phone their bank immediately.

Many people don't know that even if you hang up, the other person can stay on the line for two minutes. So when the person phones their bank, they go through to the scammers.

Banks, building societies and Police have signed a declaration to highlight the warnings against phone scams.

They are warning people to:

- Be aware of cold callers, especially if they ask you to call back.

- Be aware that banks and Police NEVER ask for personal banking details or ask for money to be transferred or withdrawn.

- Wait five minutes and preferably use a different line before calling your bank if you receive a suspicious phone call.

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