Belfast Telegraph

Scammers rake in £769k in just one month in Northern Ireland

Simon Walls has urged both individuals and businesses never to disclose banking details over the phone (PA)
Simon Walls has urged both individuals and businesses never to disclose banking details over the phone (PA)

Northern Ireland businesses and residents were scammed out of more than £769,000 last month through fraudulent emails.

Known as mandate frauds, the scams involve fake emails asking for bank account details to be changed or email accounts being hacked.

On July 1, the email accounts belonging to a large business were compromised and €470,000 was transferred to three separate bank acocunts.

Less than two weeks later, a healthcare provider received an email asking them to change their bank account details and make payments to an account, which turned out to be fraudulent. A total of £140,000 was lost in the scam.

The most recent incident happened on July 22, when a business transferred around £50,000 to a supplier. Scammers, however, had hacked into the business's accounts and changed the supplier's bank details, sending the money to the fraudsters instead.

PSNI Chief Superintendent Simon Walls urged businesses and individuals to take more care when disclosing their personal or banking details.

"Throughout July we have received numerous calls from people who have been duped out of their hard earned money," he said.

"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.

"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."

Anyone concerned by unsolicited calls, emails or letters has been urged to contact Action Fraud via their website www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Information can also be provided to police on 101.

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