Detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Economic Crime Unit are warning the public to be extremely vigilant following reports of criminals posing as police officers.
Detective Chief Inspector Wilson said: “In an incident which was reported yesterday, Monday, 10 May, an older woman was contacted, by telephone, by a man purporting to be a police officer.
“He told her that she was being ‘scammed’ by people claiming to be from an internet provider, who had been taking money from her account. The alleged police officer told the victim that he would send someone to her house to collect belongings as they needed them for their investigation.
“The victim left a small safe containing a substantial amount of money out at her front door for this man to collect. Later that same day, a man arrived at the victim’s house and knocked on the door stating that he was there to collect a package.
“The woman pointed out to where she had put the money on the doorstep and the man made off from her house with a substantial sum of cash.
“The victim then received another call shortly after the criminal had collected the money, asking her about other possessions she had. Luckily she was not cheated out of anything further.”
Detective Chief Inspector Wilson added: “This victim has lost a substantial amount of money as a result of the callous actions of these manipulative criminals who have no thought or compassion for the people they are cheating.
“They are extremely adept at sounding professional, however I cannot stress strongly enough Police will never ever contact you asking for money, bank details or what valuables you have in your home.
“Yesterday, Monday, 10 May, police received a report that another older person had also received a call from a male purporting to be a police officer. However, luckily they realised this was a scam call and they did not suffer any financial loss.”
Chief Inspector Ian Wilson continued: “I am urgently advising the public to be vigilant at all times. Criminals are continuously coming up with advanced and sophisticated ways of targeting people, especially those who are more vulnerable or older.
“If you have older relatives or family members, please take time to share this information with them so they can be fully aware of this type of scam.
“Our message is simple, never ever disclose any personal or banking details to anyone over the phone or online, no matter where they say they are calling from or how convincing they may seem.
“Protecting your personal information and banking details is extremely important. If you have received a call of this kind or if you are concerned by the intent of unsolicited calls, emails or letters then please call police on the non-emergency number 101 or make a report to Action Fraud via their website www.actionfraud.police.uk or by phoning 0300 123 2040.
For further advice and information visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni . ScamwiseNI have recently issued some helpful videos which show how these type of scams can take place and the terrible impacts for the victims