Police Appeal After Woman Scammed Out Of £45k

The PSNI has appealed to the public to be on the lookout for scams after a woman in her 70's was swindled out of almost £45,000.

The victim, who is from the Craigavon area, received a call from a man claiming to represent her telecoms and internet provider on Tuesday 08 January.

The fraudster asked her to complete a number of things on her computer which gave him the opportunity to install software on the device, granting him remote access to her files, bank account and more.

According to PSNI Chief Superintendent Walls, the action allowed the man to transfer close to £45,000 from her bank account.

"This is an absolutely despicable crime. The women has lost her hard earned savings and this has left her extremely distressed."

A further 11 reports of fraud were lodged on Friday 11 January, including people being targeted by scammers claiming to be from HMRC.

While the majority of people did not fall victim to such attempts, one person did.

The second woman lost £2000 after receiving a message on social media informing her that she had won a competition.

A link re-directed her to a site which advised her to transfer personal details and the sum of money in order to collect her winnings.

"Sadly, this is just another example of how easy it is for scammers to fool people," Superintendent Walls continued.
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"This is why it is so important that people become scam aware. Families also need to keep an eye on their loved ones, especially older members of their family. Have the conversation; sit down and talk about these types of scams and what they need to do to protect themselves online, on the phone and post.

"While it's reassuring some people are able to spot these scams, and they are picking up the phone to report them to us, other people are being still being caught out. I would continue to urge members of the public to always err on the side of caution with any text, call, email or letter asking for payment or personal details in order to release money, refund fees, pay lottery wins or supply a holiday, giveaway or service.

"And remember if you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam."

The PSNI also issued some advice on how to protect yourself from scams;

• If you are at all suspicious about a call you receive, hang up and phone the organisation the person is purporting to represent to check their authenticity.

• Ideally, make the call from another telephone so you can be sure the original caller has not remained on the line. Never be pressured into a transaction over the phone.

• Prioritise the safety of your personal belongings and bank details- never disclose them to an unauthorised individual or allow access to them via your computer.

• Telecoms providers will never call to tell you they have found a problem with your computer; they will never ask for payment details over email or live chat; and they will never call out of the blue and ask for remote access to your computer or other devices.

• Internet/broadband providers will never call to tell you your router or IP address has been compromised or that your broadband has been hacked. They will also never call to threaten to disconnect your service if you don't make a payment immediately.


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