Scammer attempts to swindle woman out of more than €125,000 savings
Call for public to be vigilant against potential fraudsters
PSNI Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said people should never disclose personal or banking details to anyone over the phone or online, no matter how convincing they may seem.
A pensioner from Co Down almost lost her savings after a scammer attempted to swindle her out of £107,000 (€125,588).
The details of the attempted scam were released on Friday by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) as a reminder to the public to be vigilant against potential fraudsters.
The woman, who is in her 70s, was searching online for investment opportunities and found what appeared to be the website of a reputable company.
She gave the company her details, but did not realise it was actually a fake website set up by the scammer to make it look like the genuine company.
The fraudster subsequently sent her correspondence and, believing it to be a legitimate investment opportunity, she electronically transferred almost £107,000 to an account last month.
She became concerned when she asked the scammer about the conditions of her investment and telephoned the offices of the legitimate company, to be told that the man she had been liaising with did not work for them.
The woman realised she had been conned, and reported the fraud to the police.
Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said the PSNI’s Economic Crime Unit took immediate action and were able to “contact the relevant financial institution and instruct them to stop the transfer of funds.
“Had the funds been transferred, there is the possibility the money may not have been recouped,” he said.
He said it was a “massive relief” for the victim, and thanked her for having the courage to contact police.
“Often people who are targeted in scams are embarrassed to come forward, however, this is an example of why it is so important to tell police and to tell us quickly,” he said.
“Unfortunately, this shows there are still unscrupulous individuals who often look legitimate, and operate increasingly sophisticated scams, who get up every day and set out to con people out of their money.”
Chief Supt Walls said the police’s advice was never disclose 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 via your computer.
“If you have any concerns about 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. You can also call police on the non-emergency number 101,” he said, or for further advice visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni.