Police are urging the public to be extra vigilant following a number of reports of scams this week.

Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said: "We have received a number of calls in recent days from people who have been contacted by fraudsters and told that their National Insurance number has been used in a tax fraud or in criminal activity. This is an automated message which then asks the person to press one to speak to an operator. The operator then claims to be from the National Crime Agency and attempts to obtain banking details. Thankfully, so far no-one reporting this scam to police has given any financial details to the fraudsters. Similar reports have also been received of fraudsters claiming to be from Paypal and HMRC in recent days. The outcome of all these contacts with the public is always to obtain financial details.

“If you get a similar call please put the phone down and report the call via our 101 system. Do not provide any personal details to the caller.

“Fraudsters will stop at nothing in an attempt to dupe people because of the variety of scams employed, including on the phone, or via email and to the more sophisticated scams where people become victims of romance or investment scams.

“No matter what type of scam it is and the different methods employed, a common element shared by scammers is they will go to great lengths to trick people and take advantage of their vulnerability and good faith and these latest reports show this, having pretending to be a police officer.

“Our message is simple – never disclose your personal or banking details to anyone over the phone or online, no matter how convincing they may seem, and never allow an unauthorised person to have access to such details.

“Guarding your personal and banking details is essential. Never disclose them to any unauthorised person or allow anyone access to them via your computer.

“If you have received a call of this kind or are concerned by the intent of unsolicited calls, emails or letters then please report it to Action Fraud via their website www.actionfraud.police.uk or by phoning 0300 123 2040, or call police on the non-emergency number 101.”

For further advice and information visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni . ScamwiseNI have recently issued some helpful videos which show how these type of scams can take place and the terrible impacts for the victims.

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