Vigilance urged following latest telephone scam attempts

Thursday, 17 November 2016

CASTLEDERG Sinn Féin councillor, Kieran McGuire. has urged people to be vigilant to attempted telephone and online scams.

He issued the warning after a number of residents in the Aghyaran area were contacted in recent days by persons falsely purporting to be from BT.

There have also been reports of similar calls being made to homes in the Strabane and Sion Mills areas.

Cllr McGuire said the culprits were attempting to elicit their personal computer details by "spinning a convincing story".

Speaking on Monday, the Derry City and Strabane district councillor, explained: "I have been contacted by a number of local people asking me to highlight calls they received from persons purporting to be from BT who gave a convincing enough spiel about being concerned with trying to improve the poor internet connection in the area, asking how many devices in the home were being run off the net gear and so on before subtly attempting to elicit the personal details which would have given them access to their computer/banking details.

"Thankfully in each of the cases that have been reported to me, those on the receiving end soon realised what was going on and ended the call.

"BT subsequently confirmed that they had made no such calls and advised those targeted to contact the police in case any of their personal details had already compromised.


Cllr McGuire added: "Attempted telephone and online scams are an ongoing and increasing problem with the 'scamsters' always attempting to devise more sophisticated and plausible ways to try and secure your personal computing and online banking details.

"I would urge people to be constantly vigilant and to make sure to warn elderly family members in particular to the wide variety of attempted cold call scams that are going on."

The call for vigilance comes in the wake of a major new campaign to help people 'get wise' to scams.

The campaign - 'If you can spot it, you can stop it' - put together by the Policing Board, PSNI and the Department of Justice, is in response to the rising number of scams being reported. 

According to statistics, 17 per cent of people across Northern Ireland have been the victims of scams in the last three years which equates to 314,840 of the population.

To support the 'ScamwiseNI' campaign, a short film has been produced which details the experience of 'Erika' who has been a victim of scammers. The 'Little Book of Big Scams' which lists some of the key scams around at the minute and what to do if you think you are being targeted or may be a victim, has also been republished.

Discussing the Initiative, Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris, said: "Scamming is a growth area of crime which impacts on many sections of our community. It's a matter of real concern to police. We recognise it is not just the police who can impact on scamming, so we have taken a collaborative approach to highlight what steps can be taken to prevent people becoming victims of scams.

"Education is our best weapon in preventing people from becoming victims. The ScamwiseNI campaign aims to teach the public that we all need to be vigilant of any contact from an unsolicited source, whether that is from doorstep callers, telephone, mail or online.

"I would encourage any victims of a fraud or a scam to speak out and report it. Remember, if you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!"


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