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Call for vigilance after thousands lost in online scam

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Police in Derry/Londonderry are urging people to be on their guard for fraudsters after a recent report of online fraud.

Money was lost after the person was contacted online and told they’d won money. They were told they needed to send online gift cards to verify themselves. This continued for some time before the scam was spotted and stopped. Thousands of pounds have been lost. 

Inspector Craig said: “Criminals constantly change how they present their scam to lure people in and swindle them, but the core is the same – they’re trying to get your personal and financial details.

“Fraud offences are complex to investigate as many of those responsible are from outside Northern Ireland and, therefore, outside our jurisdiction. Criminals involved in many of these crimes transfer funds from victims at such a speed that often those who lose money to fraudsters are not aware of any financial loss for some time. Alongside funds usually being transferred overseas, outside the UK banking system and involving a network of accounts, this makes it difficult to trace those involved and challenging to hold them account. However, we do investigate and have conducted a number of investigations which have resulted in criminal justice outcomes.
 
“We work closely with partners, including the banking sector, through our ScamwiseNI Partnership to raise awareness of fraud, and inform people of the steps they can take to protect themselves and stop criminals from stealing their money.”

Advice
The best way to fight scams and not lose money is to Stop. Check. Report.
Stop before you transfer money or disclose any personal details to anyone you do not know. Do not feel rushed or pressured by timelines – genuine businesses will always give you time to consider your options.
Check and verify who you are communicating with using a trusted source. Take time to verify callers on another phone line where possible. Search for businesses online and check images via an image search. If you are in any doubt do not transfer any money or goods.
Report – If you have been a victim of a scam, report it to police on online at www.psni.police.uk/makeareport or call 101, to your bank immediately, online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040. You can also forward scam texts to 7726.
Information and advice is also available at http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni

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