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Police issue warning after six people swindled out of £190,000 in run-up to Christmas

The PSNI said they commonly receive reports of fraud.

Image: Shutterstock.com

POLICE IN NORTHERN Ireland have issued a warning after scammers “swindled” almost £190,000 from six residents in the run-up to Christmas. 

Between 16 November and 18 December the PSNI received six reports of scams ranging from £8,000 to £64,000.

The first report involved a woman in Belfast who was contacted by a person claiming to be from a Telecoms provider.

They said her bank account had been hacked and that access was needed to her laptop to sort out the problem.

The woman – who recently signed up to the bank – spent five hours on the phone with the scammer.

During this phone call, two software programmes were downloaded. The woman then discovered that £10,000 had been stolen from her bank account. 

In another incident that same day, PSNI received another report of alleged fraud.

A Co Tyrone man was contacted via Facebook by a person claiming to be a close friend. 

The person asked the man for a loan of £8,000, which the man agreed to. He subsequently found out his actual friend’s Facebook account had been hacked and that he’d been scammed. 

On 19 December, a Co Down man discovered that he has been defrauded by £36,000 after he was contacted by a person claiming to be an investor. 

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The man gave this person access to his computer and subsequently his bank account. 

Speaking today, PSNI Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said: “Scams come in all shapes and sizes, from mandate fraud to old fashioned telephone scams to classic romance scams, and they all have one thing in common. They are orchestrated and executed by people who will go to whatever lengths necessary to take people’s money.

Scammers are callous, unscrupulous individuals who don’t care about the impact of their actions, which can be devastating and life changing. 

“In each of these scams, the victims genuinely believed what they doing was for real, and the people who they were dealing with were genuine. It’s devastating for them to realise that, not only have they been conned, but they have also lost their money,” he said. 

Walls said the PSNI’s 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 via your computer.”

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