Scammers take £3,000 from pensioner’s bank account

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Heartless scammers have tricked a Banbridge pensioner out of £3,000 by using his bank’s own phone number to contact him, police have warned.

Banbridge PSNI issued a warning on Facebook of the latest con and urged tech-savvy generations to warn their elderly and vulnerable neighbours and relatives about the scam.

PSNI Chief Superintendent Simon Walls speaking during the launch of Scamwise NI at the Long Room in Stormont's Parliament Buildings in Belfast in March.

PSNI Chief Superintendent Simon Walls speaking during the launch of Scamwise NI at the Long Room in Stormont's Parliament Buildings in Belfast in March.

“Folks, yet again, heartless scammers have struck in our district and taken over £3,000 off an elderly gent,” police said.

“This unfortunately was quite a clever, more high-tech venture. The victim took a call from someone purporting to be from his bank. Worse still, the number was the bank’s number.”

Although not a new trick, phone number “spoofing” is not common, police said.

“This is a process where scammers can make your phone ID show whatever number they want it to. They can clone private numbers, business numbers ... whatever they wish. This makes spotting it considerably harder.”

Scales of Justice

Scales of Justice

When he answered the call the victim was told that his account had been hacked and he had to transfer money to a different account. “Of course, the money was then gone.”

Police urged people to follow the ‘Scamwise NI’ Facebook page.

“However, the sad reality is that it is not the web savvy, Facebook generation who are most at risk from these scammers. It’s the elderly, the vulnerable, those who may not be reading these warnings.”

Police urged competent people to warn elderly and vulnerable people they know.

A bank will never call you and demand that you move money, police warned.

If in doubt, hang up, and ring them back from a number on your own documents “or even call into your local branch in person”.