Officers from the Belfast District Support Team have arrested a 15 year old male on suspicion of attempted fraud and impersonating a police office in North Belfast yesterday evening (Thursday 15 April).
Detective Chief Inspector Ian Wilson said; “Thanks to the quick action of officers, we have been able to make an arrest and prevent the loss of a significant amount of cash. The 15 year old male is currently helping detectives in the Economic Crime Unit with ongoing enquiries and we have already carried out a follow-up search of a residential property in Craigavon and seized a number of items.
Detective Chief Inspector Wilson went on to explain: “Just before 5.30pm on Thursday, 15 April, we were made aware that the potential victims had been contacted by someone claiming to be a Police Officer and were on their way to hand over an amount of money for ‘scanning’.
“Once aware, specialist officers from the Belfast District Support Team attended a carpark in North Belfast, before making the arrest.
“We have seen an increase in the number of scams reported to us where fraudsters pose as police officers.
“We have issued a number of appeals and warnings about this crime type recently, and I am urgently advising the public to be vigilant at all times and to be aware that police officers will never call you and ask for cash, bank details or questions about valuable possessions.
“Criminals are continuously coming up with advanced and sophisticated ways of targeting people, especially those who are more vulnerable or older.
“Critically, if you have older relatives or family members, please share this information with them so they can be fully aware of this type of scam.
“Our message is – never disclose any financial details 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.”
It’s important to remember that people of any age can fall victim to a scam.
Listed below are some important points and ways to prevent being a victim to a scam:
- TREAT EVERY COLD CALL AS A POSSIBLE SCAM - Remember if you did not make the call you cannot be sure who is on the other end of the line.
- REJECT cold calls on your phone. Sign up for a call blocking service. This might not stop all scam calls but it will stop cold-callers.
- REGISTER with your telephone provider’s free nuisance telephone service. Examples include BT Call Protect, Sky –Talk Shield, Talk Talk – Call Safe. Register with the Telephone Preference Service (0345 0700707)
- NEVER assume that a caller on your phone is who they say they are just because the number on your caller display matches that of the organisation you know. Scammers can clone telephone numbers of organisations e.g. banks, insurance companies. If they want to impersonate one of these organisations they can make their number appear on your caller ID display – this is known as number spoofing.
- NEVER give out your personal details. For example, date of birth, National Insurance Number, your long bank card details, your pin number, your security code or your on-line banking password to any person who rings you. NEVER agree to download an app to your phone, laptop or computer. This may give the scammer access to your device.
- ALWAYS TAKE 5 MINUTES to check out if the call, text, email, letter is genuine – speak to a family member, friend or your bank. Ring 101 and speak to us about the call/message/email/letter you have received.
- NEVER ring the number back – it could be a high premium rate number and you will be charged.
- NEVER reply to unknown text messages or click into any links they have provided.
- ENSURE your passwords are complex, change them regularly and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.
- DON’T click on email attachments or click on links they have provided.
- NEVER let a stranger into your home. If someone calls to your door offering goods or services turn them away or ask them to leave a business card. Do not be pressured to engaging their services immediately. You need to check the credentials of all callers before allowing them access to your property. Display the
- Put a NO COLD CALLING sticker on your door/window and ring 101 to let police know cold callers are in the area.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland is appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone with any information that will assist the investigation to contact us on the non-emergency number 101. Information can also be passed anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.