16/12/2005

Police urge vigilance over Christmas fraud

Detectives from the PSNI's Fraud Unit have reminded members of the public and business community to remain vigilant following reports that Northern Ireland is again being targeted by fraudsters in the run up to Christmas.

One of the most popular frauds urges the victim to forward personal and bank details to an 'overseas' government official/solicitor acting on behalf of a deceased person with no known living relatives within that country, to enable millions of dollars to be moved out of the country to the individual's bank account.

Prior to the release of money the individual has to forward a sum of money to commence the procedure. While this scam has been well publicised, many people continue to be duped into participating.

The second 'overseas lottery' style fraud informs potential victims they have won a substantial sum of money but, that in order to release their 'winnings,' a percentage of money be forwarded by the individual to the Lottery Commission to enable local taxes to be paid.

Detective Inspector George Clydesdale said: "While the PSNI's Fraud Unit is committed to tackling these and other fraudulent activity, we would ask members of the community to be on the alert at all times and not to disclose bank or personal details to strangers or to forward money without ensuring the recipient is genuine.

"Remember if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is!"

Anyone who is concerned they may have been the victim of any type of fraud should contact Fraud Unit Officers on 0845 600 8000.

(MB/SP)

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