A senior police officer has issued a stark warning to the public to be vigilant following the report of attempted fraud of £20,000 in Lurgan earlier this week.
Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said: “We received a report on Monday (5 November) a woman had been targeted by a man claiming to be from British Telecom (BT).
“The woman received numerous calls, during one of which she was persuaded to download software which gave the scammers access to her email and online banking accounts. Having gained access to her account, the scammers had transferred £20,000 of her money.
"Thankfully, this scam was stopped just in time by the bank and no money was lost. Credit to the member of the bank staff for spotting what was going on.
"Fraudsters will go to any length to scam people out of money and you might think it might never happen to you, but it can.
“Our advice is simple. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. No matter how good the offer is, or how convincing these cold callers sound, be wary of any individual who cold calls you.
“Never allow any cold caller remote access to your computer, no matter how genuine or convincing they sound. Be especially suspicious of anyone who asks for personal details, money, banking or credit card information via the telephone. Once a scammer is in a victim’s computer and personal details are given by the victim, their online bank accounts can be accessed and significant amounts of money lost; money they may well never get back. Thankfully that did not happen in this case.
“The scammers may also advise their intended victim they’re due a financial refund and ask for details of their bank account in relation to this, which they will then target.
“If you have any suspicions at all about a call you receive, hang up and phone the organisation the person is claiming 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.
“If you've had an experience like this, or require any further advice and information call us on 101.
"Advise and information can also be obtained by visiting nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni.
“And remember if you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.”