A top PSNI officer has paid tribute to Co Armagh bank staff who help thwart a woman being scammed out of £20k.
Chief Inspector Jon Burrows said a ‘big thank you’ to staff at the Ulster Bank in Lurgan who spotted signs of a customer being defrauded.
“Following their call we attended the bank promptly and together persuaded the victim to stop the transaction. There is a criminal investigation underway.”
The PSNI’s colleagues at Scamwise NI explained that the woman had received a call from someone claiming to be from BT who told her of connection issues in her area. Coincidently, she believed her phone WiFi was slow and the scammer asked if she wanted this to be fixed - she did.
A spokesperson for Scamwise NI said: “She received another call, saying they noticed irregularities in her account, and someone was trying to funnel money through her account.
“The scammer then coached her to download the ‘Teamviewer Quick Support’ app. Please note - this is a LEGITIMATE app, which is used by businesses around the world. It is NOT for giving cold callers access to your device; however, that’s what happened.
“In doing so, the scammers had access to her email and online banking accounts. She was then advised that money had to be transferred to a different account to assist the NCA (National Crime Agency). In exchange, she was told she would get £500!
“The scammers moved money from her savings account to her current account to trick her into thinking this money was there.
“She was made to walk to the bank while on the phone, being told to check her account at the ATM in order to show her the ‘new money’ was there.
“She was made to keep the line open with the phone in her bag, and tell banking staff the money was for ‘home improvements’.
“She tried this but due to the excellent training and customer care from Ulster Bank, they knew something was up and we were alerted.
“In this case, no money was lost, she was advised about changing her email account passwords, and the bank secured her account.
“If you are EVER in doubt about the legitimacy of a call, contact your bank or ourselves. NEVER allow remote access to your phone or computer. No law enforcement agency, either the police or NCA will ever ask you to transfer money to a different account.”
PSNI Craigavon said: “The victim was distressed none the less, at this most cowardly and intrusive sort of manipulation we see on an infuriatingly regular basis.
“We need to mention and thank the bank in this. Too often people are dismissive of bankers but Ulster Bank Lurgan staff did a superb job in spotting this and keeping this as an ATTEMPTED scam.”