06/02/2019

Two NI Men Scammed Out Of £20K

Police are urging the public to be vigilant after two men were scammed out of a total of £40,000 in separate telephone scams.

The victims from counties Antrim and Tyrone both lost almost £20k in recent weeks.

In both instances, a scammer posing as an internet provider telephoned the target and convinced them to download apps as a way of accessing their bank accounts.

The first victim received a voicemail to his home in Belfast on Wednesday 30 January asking him to contact his provider.

Chief Superintendent Simon Walls explained: "He called back the next day and was told there were issues with his broadband and he needed to download a program so the matter could be resolved. 

"Unfortunately, the man downloaded the programme which gave the fraudster access to his computer. 

"The man was also told he would be compensated for the problem and was asked to log onto his online banking, which he did. As the scammer had access to the man's computer, he was then able to access his online banking and take £19,800. 

"Unfortunately, we continue to see members of the public lose very significant amounts of money in online and telephone scams. 

"This has been an awful ordeal for this man who believed he was communicating with a legitimate representative from his internet provider, but who in turn was swindled out of thousands of pounds."

In the second incident, reported to police in Omagh on Monday 04 February, a man was similarly advised of issues with his internet and was persuaded to download an app.
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This enabled the culprit to take control of his phone and access his bank account, taking over £19,700 from the unassuming individual.

"While this may have sounded like a completely legitimate call, it illustrates how convincing scammers can be," Superintendent Walls added.

"I want to take this opportunity to appeal to 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. Tricksters know all the scams and will often communicate with victims in a convincing manner."

The public are advised that if they have suspicions about any calls or communications, they should hang up immediately and phone the organisation the person is purporting to represent.

Ideally, the call should be made from another telephone to be sure the original caller has not remained on the line.

Mr Walls added: "Never be pressured into a transaction over the phone. Guarding your personal and banking details is essential. Never ever disclose them to any unauthorised person or allow anyone access to them via your computer.

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

Anyone who has received a call of this kind or who is concerned by the intent of unsolicited calls, emails or letters is urged report it to Action Fraud via their website, or by phoning 0300 123 2040.

Alternatively, it can be reported to police by calling the non-emergency number 101.

Further advice and information can also be obtained by visiting NI Direct via this link or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page.



(JG/CM)

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