Unsuspecting targets have been swindled out of more than £80,000 in a spate of scams reported to police in Northern Ireland this week.
According to the PSNI, a variety of methods were used to con victims.
Some were cold-called at home by people claiming to represent an online retailer and telling them they needed to make a payment.
Others reported being threatened with arrest due to an outstanding fine or warrant.
One victim was swindled out of £40,000 in an online romance scam.
Scammers don’t care who their victim is, they just want their money and will employ whatever tactic is necessary.
Another was duped by someone claiming to be from a telecommunications company.
That person was told they were to receive a refund of £400.
They received the £400 – but £15,000 was also taken from their account.
Another victim bought items for their business online and reported losing £11,000, while yet another victim lost £16,000 in an online financial scam.
Other amounts reported to police as being lost ranged from £34 to £2,200.
PSNI Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said: “As these reports show, there is no let-up from scammers who will do whatever they can to con people out of their hard-earned money.
“While some of the losses reported to us this week involved significant sums of money to much smaller sums, we understand that any amount of money lost to a scammer is a horrible experience for anyone.”
He added: “The threat of fraud, both online and offline, against the public is a constant focus for us and I want to take this opportunity to again appeal to people that on no account should anyone disclose their personal or financial details over the phone - always err on the side of caution.
“Scammers are creative and will do whatever they can to con people out of money.
“It’s also important that if you have older members of family, talk with them and tell them legitimate providers will never seek their personal details, such as banking information, over the phone.
“This is a really important conversation to have. Guarding your personal and banking details is essential. Never disclose them to any unauthorised person.”
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