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Police launch investigation after victim duped into transferring £20,000 on cloned web page

Despite the global lockdown, a senior PSNI officer says scammers are continuing to defraud members of the community of large amounts of money.

Chief Superintendent Simon Walls was speaking after reports in recent days where more than £60,000 has been lost to scammers.

The first report was made to police on April 27 where a man living in the North West was targeted in a sophisticated online scam where a web page was cloned.

The victim was transferring money to a cloned site; a total of just over £20,000 over two days.

It was only when he tried to make a third transfer of a sum of money that he was alerted by his bank it was a scam.

On Monday, May 4, a report was made to police that a business in Tyrone had been duped in a mandate fraud where an email was sent to the company with new bank account details and asking for payment to be sent to that account. Unfortunately, a sum of just over £20,000 was transferred to the bogus account.

Yesterday, Tuesday May 5, a report was made that a woman living in County Antrim had received a call in the morning telling her she was wanted by police abroad. She was duped into transferring £20,000 to accounts.

Enquiries in these cases are continuing.

Chief Superintendent Simon Walls says the most recent attacks by fraudsters show scammers continued sophistication and intent.

Chief Superintendent Walls said: “Unfortunately, we are again dealing with people and businesses that have been left to deal with the terrible consequence due to the unscrupulous actions of criminals. It is despicable and in both of these reports, substantial sums of money have been taken from people acting in good faith.

“I can’t stress enough to never ever give out any personal or financial information to an unverified source via email or over the phone. If a supplier suggests they have changed an account number please ensure you are 100% sure this is the case. Don’t take an email as proof.

“Please, be vigilant, and be on your guard.”

Anyone concerned they have been a victim of a scam either report the matter to Action Fraud via their website www.actionfraud.police.uk or by phoning 0300 123 2040. Police can be contacted on the non-emergency number 101.

For further advice and information visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni

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