A senior PSNI officer is calling on family to stay alert and keep any eye on their loved ones after two reports of people being scammed out of thousands of pounds in two days.
Chief Superintendent Simon Walls made the appeal after two victims lost a total of close to £13,000 last weekend.
Chief Superintendent Walls said: “These scams happened within a day of each other, on Friday 21 December and Saturday, 22 December, in counties Armagh and Tyrone.”
One of the victims had close to £10,000 taken from their bank account, while the other victim lost £2,500.
“Both victims were taken in by scammers claiming to be from BT,” Chief Superintendent Walls explained. “One victim was tricked into giving their bank details over the phone.
“The other victim was kept on the phone for around three hours and persuaded to download software, which resulted in the victim being swindled out their hard earned money.
He continued: “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 or to download software during a call unless they are 110% sure it is safe to do so.
“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.
“Police 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.
“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.
“Guarding your personal and banking details is essential. Never disclose them to any unauthorised person or allow anyone access to them via your computer.
Further advice and information can also be obtained by visiting the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni or www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni.
“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.
“And remember if you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.”