Email scams totalling almost £800,000 reported to PSNI in July
Chief Superintendent Simon Walls has warned that scammers will go to great lengths to trick their victims.
Almost £800,000 was conned out of the public in Northern Ireland in July through email scams.
The PSNI said it has identified an upsurge in scams where emails are being hacked and this has led to losses in excess of £769,000 during the month of July.
Chief superintendent Simon Walls warned that scammers will go to great lengths to con their victims.
He said a number of individuals and businesses were among those targeted in what are known as mandate frauds, where emails have been compromised or spoofed.
Reports to police in recent weeks include losses from £20,000 to more than £400,000 using a variety of scams.
On July 1, it was reported email accounts of a large organisation had been compromised, resulting in 470,000 euro (£432,850) being transferred to three separate bank accounts.
It was reported on July 11 that a healthcare provider had received an email asking for bank account details to be changed and payments to be made accordingly. In total, £140,000 was paid into the fraudulent account.
On July 15, it was reported a company’s emails were hacked and emails sent to some customers advising them of new banks details, which some customers then paid into. Almost £30,000 was paid to a scammer.
Never disclose account details to any unauthorised person or allow anyone access to them via your computer Chief Superintendent Simon Walls
On July 16 a charitable organisation’s emails were intercepted and they transferred 59,000 euro (£54,377) into what they thought was a legitimate account. However, it was a fraudulent account and they have been scammed out of the money.
On July 18, it was reported a man who had dealings with an online investment company was advised to make payment to a different bank account number. While bank details were different, the company name was the same. The man was duped into transferring £20,000.
The most recent loss was reported to police on July 22 when a business transferred around £50,000 to a supplier. The supplier’s bank details had been amended by the scammers after they had hacked into one of the business’s accounts and the money was transferred to the scammers instead.
Mr Walls urged individuals and businesses to never disclose banking details over the phone.
“Throughout July we have received numerous calls from people who have been duped out of their hard-earned money. No matter what type of scam it is, and the different methods employed, a common element shared by scammers is their only aim is to take money from people and will go to great lengths to trick people,” he said.
“I can’t stress enough to businesses and individuals alike never to disclose personal or banking details to anyone over the phone no matter how convincing it seems to you.
“Before making payments, double-check that the accounts to which the payments are being made are the correct accounts. Never disclose account details to any unauthorised person or allow anyone access to them via your computer.
“if you are concerned by unsolicited calls, emails or letters then please report it to Action Fraud via their website www.actionfraud.police.uk or by phoning 0300 123 2040, or call police on the non-emergency number 101.”
For further advice and information visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni