Belfast Telegraph

PSNI foils £107,000 scam attempt of Co Down pensioner

A fraudster attempted to scam a woman out of more than £100,000
A fraudster attempted to scam a woman out of more than £100,000

The PSNI has foiled a scammer's attempt to steal almost £107,000 from a County Down woman in her 70s.

The fraudster struck when the woman was searching online for investment opportunities.

She came across a company she had heard of before and gave them her details.

Unbeknown to her, the company was a fraudulent one set up by the scammer to look genuine.

She received correspondence from the rogue company and went on to send them £107,000, before realising it was a scam when she asked the fraudster about the conditions of her investment.

After calling the legitimate website office and asking to speak with the man whom she had been liaising with, she was then told by the legitimate company that they did not have any such person who worked for them.

She immediately reported the fraud to the police.

Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said: "An officer attended the victim’s house and, getting further details immediately, contacted colleagues in our Economic Crime Unit who, as trained financial investigators, were able to contact the relevant financial institution and instruct them to stop the transfer of funds. Had the funds been transferred, there is the possibility the money may not have been recouped.

"This is a massive relief for this woman who had wanted to use her hard earned savings for her future but, thankfully, it appears we have thwarted an attempt by a scammer to get away with what is a huge amount of money.

"I want to thank the woman for having the courage to tell us about what happened to her, as often people who are targeted in scams are embarrassed to come forward, however, this is an example of why it is so important to tell police and to tell us quickly.

"Unfortunately, this shows there are still unscrupulous individuals who often look legitimate, and operate increasingly sophisticated scams, who get up every day and set out to con people out of their money.

"I want to take this opportunity to appeal people to be vigilant. Fraudsters know all the tricks and you can never be too cautious.”

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