Police are warning residents to be wary of unsolicited phone calls and scams following four incidents in the Ballymoney, Portrush, Coleraine and Derry/Londonderry areas on Monday 16 May and Tuesday 17 May.
Scams evolve and change all of the time but the aim remains the same – to take money from unsuspecting members of the public.
We have seen different examples of scams over the last few months. In some instances criminals will claim to be from a computer company and try to gain access to your home PC or laptop so that they can access your financial and personal details. In other scams criminals claim that you are entitled to money and can access it by transferring a specified amount of cash to them. Or some criminals will try to persuade you that they are from a government department or official organisation and that you owe money and need to pay this as soon as possible.
Their efforts to entice money are imaginative and varied and the public need to be vigilant and alert at all times.
Inspector Helen Garrett said: “I would urge everyone to be mindful of any unsolicited call. If it sounds too good to be true then it generally is. Never give out personal details over the phone. If you are unsure of a caller or feel that something is not right then ask for details to check their identity. Ask where they are phoning from, where they have got your details from and where they have obtained your telephone number. Also, ask them if there is a number you can phone them back on or if there is another representative from their company that you can contact.
“If you are still unsure about them then contact the company or business they claim to be from to check if the call is genuine. Legitimate companies won’t have a problem with you calling them back.
“Never forward cash to a company that you have not verified.
“Scammers are inventive and can be very convincing, however each scam has just one purpose – to tempt you into dropping your guard – so please be wary.
“If you have received a contact of this kind or are concerned by the intent of unsolicited calls, emails or letters then please report it to police on the non-emergency telephone number 101.”
For guidance, the four incidents involve a telephone call where the receiver will hear a recorded message claiming to be from a government department and claiming that the homeowner owes an amount of money that needs to be paid in a small amount of time.