Police are appealing to the family and friends of older people to be vigilant after reports that scammers – claiming to be from a local bank – have been making calls to members of the public in the east Antrim area looking for their personal details.
Sergeant Moore said: “We are aware of one incident where the fraudster contacted his victim by telephone, warning that there had been fraudulent activity on their account and looking for their banking details.
“Once these scammers get the account information they are looking for, they can access your online bank accounts and steal significant amounts of money from them. This is money you may never get back.
“Always be wary of any individual that cold calls you and be especially suspicious of anyone who asks for personal details, money, banking or credit card information via the telephone.
“If you are at all suspicious about a call that you receive, hang up and phone the organisation that the person claims to represent, so you can check their authenticity.
“Ideally, make that call from another phone so you can be sure the original caller has not remained on the line. Never feel pressured into a transaction over the phone.
“It is essential that you guard your personal and banking details very carefully – never disclose them to any unauthorised person. If you think you may have compromised the safety of your bank details and/or have lost money due to fraudulent misuse – contact your bank.
“Do not be fooled into giving out personal or banking details via phone, email or any other means. Scammers and fraudsters are inventive and the schemes they use are varied but the aim remains the same – to take money from unsuspecting members of the public. We all need to be vigilant of any contact from an unsolicited source, whether that is from doorstep callers, telephone, mail or online. Education is our best weapon, to help prevent people from becoming victims.
“If you have received a suspicious call 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.”