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Victim of online romance scam swindled out of £21,000

Online grooming

A victim of an online romance scam was swindled out of £21,000, police have said.

Police are urging people to be extra vigilant following a spate of scams reported on Thursday.

Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said: “The threat of fraud, both online and offline, against the public is a constant focus for us and yesterday saw several incidents reported so I want to plead for people to be on the guard against possible scams.  In total we received 32 reports and in 7 cases monies were lost.

“This included one victim reported being swindled out of £21,000 in an online romance scam, another person conned out of £45,000 from someone claiming to be from a broadband provider and someone else losing £5,000 to a scammer pretending to be for the bank.    There were other incidents reported which involved smaller sums but we understand that any amount of money lost or indeed any interaction with a scammer is a horrible experience for anyone.

“Scammers will employed a variety of means to swindle their victims. 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.

“I am urging people to take extra precautions to protect themselves from such callous callers. Be sceptical and on your guard, if you think something is suspicious about the nature of the call, it usually is a scam.  Organisations will never cold call you to demand money. They will never ask for payment in vouchers.

“It’s also important that 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.

“Guarding your personal and banking details is essential. Never disclose them to any unauthorised person.”

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 or you can submit a report online using our non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/

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.

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