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Scamwise NI: Financial Phone Scams

09 November, 2017
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The PSNI, Northern Ireland Trading Standards and local financial institutions have identified an increase in financial phone scams which can be intimidating, threatening and forceful in their nature, often pushing for the victim to make either immediate online payments or payments via their bank branch. Generally the demand is for sums of money in regard to overdue or underpaid bills, payments, utilities, income tax etc. The fraudsters tell their victims that failure to make immediate payment may lead to court action and even arrest. Recently fraudsters are claiming to be from the HMRC (Tax Office) and requesting payment for underpaid / outstanding tax bills. Victims are told if there is a need to call or refer to their Bank not to disclose that the payment is for HMRC and to say that it is for a friend, associate or some other party in need of urgent funds. The victim is told that disclosing to the bank that the payment is for HMRC may cause a delay in the processing, or in some cases that the Bank staff are under investigation themselves and should not be trusted. The fraudsters reinforce that any delays in making the payment could leave the victim facing arrest or subject to court proceedings.

Advice on how to avoid a scam

Requests to move money to another bank or account

A genuine bank or trusted organisation will never contact you asking for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account or bank. Don’t give out personal or financial details.

Personal information

Always question uninvited approaches and never give out personal or financial details in case it’s a scam. Instead contact the company directly using a known email or phone number. 

Don’t assume an email or phone call is genuine just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name, address or even your mother’s maiden name)

Be mindful of who you trust. Criminals may try and gain your confidence by telling you that you’ve been a victim of fraud, or by telling you that they are trying to protect you from prosecution. Remember, criminals can also make any telephone number appear on your phone handset so even if you do recognise it or it seems authentic, do not use it as verification that they are genuine.

Listen to your instincts

If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. Criminals may lull you into a false sense of security when you are out and about or rely on your defences being down when you’re in the comfort of your own home. They may appear trustworthy but they may not be who they say they are.

REMEMBER, IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE THEN IT PROBABLY IS.

For more information visit https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/scamwiseni