Police have issued an appeal urging the public to be aware of potential scammers after a woman in her seventies was swindled out of close to £45,000.

The victim - from the Craigavon area - received a call from a man claiming to represent her telecoms and internet provider on Tuesday 8 January.

He asked her to complete a number of things on her computer, which gave the fraudster the opportunity to install software on the victim's computer which gave them remote access to her computer, bank account and more.

PSNI Chief Superintendent Simon Walls has said this gave the scammer the "the ability to transfer close to £45,000 from her account."

He continued, "This is an absolutely despicable crime. The women has lost her hard earned saving and this has left her extremely distressed."

A further 11 reports of fraud - including reports of people being targeted by scammers claiming to represent HMRC - were received by police that same week.

Chief Superintendent Walls has said that while "the majority of people did not fall victim to scammers, there was one person who did."

The second woman lost £2000 after receiving a message on social media informing her she had won a competition.

A link re-directed her to a site which advised she would have to transfer herpersonal details and the sum of money before she could get her winnings.

"This is just another example of how easy it is for scammers to fool people. This is why it is so important that people become scam aware," Chief Superintendent Walls said.

"If you are at all suspicious about a call you receive, hang up and phone the organisation the person is purporting to represent to check their authenticity.

He continued, "Never be pressured into a transaction over the phone."

Anyone who has received any calls asking for any of these details or are concerned by the intent of unsolicited calls, emails or letters have been urged to report it to Action Fraud or to call police on the non-emergency number 101.