The PSNI is backing a UK-wide campaign urging people to step back and think if they get any unsolicited phone calls, texts or emails about their finances.
An event is taking place at Castle Court Shopping Centre on Thursday 9 March from 9am to 9pm which is open to the public, where officers from the PSNI’s Economic Crime Unit, along with representatives from the four main banks and Trading Standards, will be on hand to give advice in relation to fraud prevention.
As the annual cost of fraud in the UK was estimated to be in the region of £193b in 2016, Financial Fraud Action UK and the PSNI’s Economic Crime Unit are working together on the “Take Five Campaign” which is a series of events urging everyone to take five minutes to stop and consider whether the situation is genuine and if what you’re being told actually makes sense.
The events, which involve PSNI, Financial Fraud Action UK and the four main local banks – Ulster Bank; Bank of Ireland; First Trust and the Danske Bank – will be taking place this week. Officers from the PSNI’s Economic Crime Unit, along with representatives from the four main banks and Trading Standards, will be on hand to give advice to the public in relation to fraud prevention.
Official figures from Action Fraud show that between April and September 2016, there were a total of 3,427 fraud related crimes reported to them, resulting in an estimated £5.4m loss to victims.
Tony Blake, Take Five’s Senior Crime Prevention Officer, explained: “Many people may already know the dos and don’ts of financial fraud – that no-one should ever ask them for their PIN or full password, or ever make them feel pressured into making a decision – but the trouble is, in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget this. After all, trusting people on their word is something everyone tends to do instinctively. If someone says they’re from your bank or from the police, why wouldn’t you believe them?”
Detective Chief Inspector Ian Wilson, Head of PSNI’s Economic Crime Unit, added: “The PSNI is very happy to be promoting and encouraging this event in Northern Ireland to raise awareness of fraud prevention. We don’t want anyone to become a victim of this type of crime and would encourage everyone to take steps to ensure their finances are protected. Taking 5 minutes to think about what you’re being asked to do could prevent fraudsters taking advantage of you.
“We would advise anyone who is a victim of fraud to report it directly to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre, by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk. If a response is required straight away, please contact your local police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.”
For further information, please log on to www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk