Police are urging the public to be vigilant after recent reports of a scam in which fraudsters are targeting people in and around Belfast city centre, asking them to withdraw cash in exchange for a bank transfer.
Chief Inspector Alan Lowry said:
“In recent weeks, police have received reports from members of the public who have been approached by a group of people, or individuals, claiming to be from the south of Ireland.
“These fraudsters claim they have forgotten or lost their wallet/bank card and have no way to get home –and no money or way to pay for transport.
“They then ask people to withdraw money from a cash machine in exchange for an immediate bank transfer – showing proof on a mobile phone of the exchange leading the victim to believe the money has already been deposited into their account.
“However, the money never arrives into the victim’s bank account. Sums ranging up to £500 in cash have been taken by criminals from accounts.
“Our enquiries remain ongoing and we would appeal to anyone who believes they have been targeted in this way recently, but have not reported it, to do so now to police, to their bank and to Action Fraud.
“Criminals use every trick in the book to steal your money, and can sound so convincing it's understandable how people can be persuaded they are genuine. However, they're anything but.
“Our advice is that you should never disclose your personal or financial details over the phone, in person, or by email, to someone you don't know. Guarding your personal and banking details is essential.”
You can report fraudulent activity to police online at www.psni.police.uk/makeareport or on the non-emergency number 101, to your bank immediately, online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.
Information and advice is also available at http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni