Police are urging the public to be on their guard against scammers after close to 60 reports of attempted fraud across Northern Ireland on Monday, September 24.
Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said: “A total of 58 reports from people in counties Antrim, Down and Armagh who reported attempts had been made to scam them out of money and trick them into making a bogus payment.
“The majority of the reports were from people claiming to represent HMRC. The others included cold callers, from people claiming to be from a bank.
“Unfortunately, in one of the reports, a victim was scammed out of a sum of money.
“Some of the victims said they received phone calls and automated voicemail messages from people claiming to represent the HMRC, threatening them with arrest if they don’t pay taxes they owe.
“We are reassured that people are able to spot these scams, and people are picking up the phone to report them to us.
“However, we would continue to urge members of the public to always err on the side of caution with any text, call, email or letter asking for payment or personal details in order to release money, refund fees, pay lottery wins or supply a holiday, giveaway or service.
“Our advice is always be wary of any individual who cold calls you. Don’t allow any cold caller remote access to your computer.
“Be especially suspicious of anyone who asks for personal details, money, banking or credit card information via the telephone. Once a scammer is in a victim’s computer and personal details are given by the victim, their online bank accounts can be accessed and significant amounts of money lost; money they may well never get back.
“The scammers may also advise their intended victim they’re due a financial refund and ask for details of their bank account in relation to this, which they will then target.
“If you are at all suspicious about a call you 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.
“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.
“Further advice and information can also be obtained by visiting www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni
“And remember if you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.”