Police in Belfast are reminding the public to be vigilant following an increase in the number of reports of fraudulent telephone calls in the area.
Over the past month, Police have seen an increase in the number of reports regarding fraudulent telephone calls to members of the community, particularly older members. In some cases the caller was claiming to be a police officer or from the fraud department of another business. The caller asks for money which they will arrange to collect in person or from a bank account and sometimes they ask for PIN details.
Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said: “No police officer will ever call you on the phone asking for money or personal banking details in this way.
“I would 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 cannot stress enough just how important it is to be scam aware and to know how easy it is to fall victim to a scam if you don’t spot the signs.
“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.”
Further advice and information can also be obtained by visiting the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni or www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni.
And remember if you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.