Police in Magherafelt have praised staff at the town’s Ulster Bank for preventing an elderly woman from being scammed out of thousands of pounds.
Officers said the “alertness” of bank staff had prevented the woman from handing over £20,000 to fraudsters.
Posting on the PSNI Magherafelt Facebook page on March 14, a police spokesperson said: “We dealt with an incident today where an older lady was almost scammed out of £20,000. Only the alertness of Ulster Bank staff stopped the scam right at the last minute.
“Even at that stage the lady struggled to accept she was being defrauded.”
Appealing to people to look out for vulnerable family members and friends, the spokesperson continued: “Many struggle to get their head around how it ever gets to the stage where you wilfully give away tens of thousands of pounds without question. But take a moment to think of older family, friends or neighbours. Those who are maybe more trusting and less cynical than you.
“People who don’t use the internet, who have never heard of a phishing scam, who don’t see all the scam warnings. People who were brought up in a much more trusting time, genuinely decent people who struggle to see the bad in anybody, people who aren’t on their guard at all times, yes think about it, you know plenty of these people.
“Well these people aren’t just people, they are your grannies and grandas, the older lady across the road, the retired care taker down the street, they are the ones who are being relentlessly targeted by the phone scammers.
“We all have a duty to talk to them and warn them of the dangers, take the time to explain that these calls are happening all the time, help and guide them, assist them in setting up call blockers, talk to them about how these scams are designed to sound completely genuine and extremely plausible.
“The majority of the scams are coming from the far side of the globe and are extremely difficult to shut down, the most effective way of stopping them is through education. Now go spread the word!”