Scams on the elderly are continuing, warn Police

Wed, 20/05/2020 - 10:53 -- Editor

Despite the global pandemic, fraudsters are still active, working hard to scam people out of their money and, unfortunately on Monday 18th May, Police Service NI received three reports of incidents in the Comber, Holywood and Belfast areas.

In one of the incidents, a female victim received a phone call from a male claiming to be from a telecoms provider and who told her she owed the company money. The woman was instructed to give the caller her pin number and to leave her bank card outside her front door. The woman's card was then used to withdraw a significant amount of money from her account.

In the second report, a woman in the Comber area received a call from a person claiming to be a 'fraud officer' from her bank and instructing her to go to a bank to withdraw money. Thankfully this attempt was thwarted and no money was lost.

In a third report made, a female received a call from a male claiming to be a police officer who told her that her account had been hacked and to avoid any further fraud, this person would come to her house to get cash. Thankfully, no financial details were provided to the scammer and no loss was incurred.

Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said: "We are making enquiries into these despicable incidents, in which the victims, all aged over 70, were callously targeted.

"I want to take this opportunity to assure you that no police officer will ever call you on the phone asking for money or personal banking details in this way.

"I also want to encourage people to take extra precautions to protect themselves from such callous callers. Be sceptical and on your guard, if you think something is suspicious about the nature of the call, it usually is a scam.

"I want to appeal to family members to do all they can to let their loved ones know, especially those who are older and vulnerable, never to give out any kind of financial details over the phone unless they are sure it is safe to do so.

"Tell them that if they're at all suspicious about a call they 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.

"Scammers are creative and will do whatever they can to con people out of money. They don't care who their victim is, they just want the money and will employ whatever tactic is necessary.

"I would advise people to always err on the side of caution when it comes to people asking for your personal details. If you have older members of family, talk with them and tell them legitimate providers will never seek their personal details, such as banking information, over the phone. This is a really important conversation to have.

"Guarding your personal and banking details is essential. Never disclose them to any unauthorised person."

Anyone concerned they have been a victim of a scam either report the matter to Action Fraud via their website www.actionfraud.police.uk or by phoning 0300 123 2040. Police can be contacted on the non-emergency number 101.

For further advice and information visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni