News

'British Telecom' con men strike again

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

DETECTIVES in Newry have issued a further warning to members of the public following the report of a telephone scam on January 31, where 28,000 was stolen.

This latest scam comes just 12 days after reports of two earlier incidents where over 20,000 was stolen from two separate County Down bank accounts.

Much like the earlier reports, where an elderly couple and a woman where the victims, the scammers claimed to be from British Telecom before remotely accessing their computer and gaining access to the victim's bank account.

Explaining the incident, Detective Sergeant James Johnston said: "The injured party in this incident received a phone call from a male claiming to be from British Telecom. The male stated he had a refund for the injured party.

"He asked them to log onto their computer and talked them through a process to allow him remote access to their computer-desktop.

"The man has then gained access to their online banking account and withdrawn over 28,000."

Detective Sergeant Johnston advised members of the public to be wary of cold callers and of those who are asking for money or to gain access to your computer.

"These examples show us how easily scammers can extract large sums of money from unsuspecting members of the public," he said.

"It is therefore extremely important to take time to consider who it is we are speaking to when we receive an unsolicited call and always be wary of any individual that cold calls you.

"Be especially suspicious of anyone who asks for money, banking or credit card information or who asks to gain access remotely to your computer.

"It is highly unusual for any legitimate company or organisation to demand money over the phone or ask to gain access to your computer.

"If you are at all suspicious about a call that you receive, hang up and phone the organisation that 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."

If you have received a call of this kind or are concerned by the intent of unsolicited calls, emails or letters then 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

Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin MLA has urged people to be extra cautious following the incident.

Mr Irwin said, "This is a shocking case and I really do empathise with the victim of this criminal scam as they have lost a significant amount of savings through this criminal act.

"You can imagine just what a massive impact this has had on the individual loosing this amount which is most likely their savings.

"I would urge everyone to be extra careful online and not allow anyone to take control of your computer or tablet device as this would not be a normal request from any service provider such as BT."

He concluded: "The criminals are clearly getting much more sophisticated and when we think that last week a charity fund raiser was scammed out of 1200 destined for the NI Ambulance by online scammers the threat from online criminals is very real."

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