VANCOUVER -- A fraud scheme that nearly cost a Vancouver senior thousands of dollars was halted by police before the money was received by a suspect overseas.

In a news release Friday, Vancouver police said a 96-year-old woman was contacted late last month over the phone and convinced to send $20,000 in small bills to the U.K. She was instructed to send the money hidden between two books.

The woman was called by the suspect on March 31, police say, and she took the money out of her bank account that same day. On April 7, the victim's nephew noticed a large sum was missing from her bank account and called police.

"Vancouver Police Financial Crime Unit became involved immediately and liaised with several law enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom to intercept the books with the cash before it was sent to the suspect," Const. Tania Visintin said in the news release.

"Investigators are in the process of having it sent to the Canadian Embassy in London for the eventual return to the elderly woman."

Anyone who falls victim to a scam should report it to Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online. Vancouver police also ask anyone who may have been the victim of fraud to contact them at 604-717-3321.