A GREENOCK man has lost over £25,000 after phone scammers emptied his pension pot.

The victim had been searching a variety of websites for the best way to invest his money after cashing in his savings - leading to a fateful call from fraudsters.

He was contacted by a man pretending to be from a legitimate investment company and over the next few months transferred a total of £26,000 to the account of what he believed to be a reputable firm.

As the man began to check on his transactions, he discovered that payments were not showing and when he tried to contact the 'company', he found out he had been conned.

The Financial Conduct Authority confirmed that the firm had been 'cloned' by scammers, and while the victim's bank are currently investigating, it is unlikely he will get any of his money back.

Police have also revealed how a second local man was ripped off in an online 'bitcoin' fraud.

He responded to an Instagram request from a trading company which claimed to be offering the 'cryptocurrency' for sale, and began purchasing what he believed to be bitcoin.

The local man began to become suspicious when he was unable to access the investment account he believed had been created for him - before discovering the firm didn't exist.

He lost around £4,150.

In the wake of the disturbing cases, police have now teamed up with the Telegraph to launch a new month-long campaign cracking down on cyber crime and phone fraud.

Detective Superintendent Gerry McBride, head of criminal investigation in Renfrewshire and Inverclyde, says this type of offending has rocketed locally over the last 12 months.

He told the Tele: "During the last year we have seen a marked increase in online and telephone-based financial crime as more people than ever before head online to do their banking, shopping and communicate with their families and loved ones.

"Unfortunately, the number of criminals operating online or by telephone has also increased, as have their methods of seeking to financially exploit people in a variety of new and convincing ways.

"These scams get victims to make payments with a promise of unrealistic returns on investments. Often they will be asked to make further payments towards fees and taxes, and these people are extremely convincing.

"A large number of these scams use cryptocurrencies - they will get the victims to invest in new forms or entice them to buy bitcoin with a promise that this will quickly increase in value.

"We are committed to making all of our communities, including our online ones, as safe as possible which is why today I am pleased to launch this new campaign across Inverclyde."

The campaign will see police highlight specific types of scams and schemes criminals are pushing locally - alongside advice on how not to be duped.

DS McBride added: "These scams are having a devastating impact on victims and their families.

"It is hoped that by sharing this information through the Telegraph we can increase our collective awareness and help people protect themselves.

"I would also urge people to help protect friends, family or neighbours who may be more susceptible to fraud.

*For more information on how to protect yourself from this type of crime visit https://www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart/unregulated-investment-scams