Two e-mail blackmail attempts in Derry and Strabane amid surge of scams, police report

Spate of scams reported.
Spate of scams reported.

Two people from the Derry and Strabane area have reported being the subject of email blackmailing attempts , the PSNI have revealed.

A senior PSNI officer is warning the public to be on their guard following a number of reports of scams in the Strabane and Derry areas.

Chief Inspector Bob Blemmings said: “Unfortunately over the last few weeks we have received reports of yet more scams."

The top officer revealed that a number of telephone scams were reported with one woman losing a sum of money after handing over her bank card details.

“In one case the scammer phoned a woman and claimed to be from her internet provider, telling her that someone had hacked her account. The woman believing the call was genuine, provided her bank card details, resulting in a sum of money being taken from her account

"In another example, a man received calls claiming that money had been taken from his credit card without his approval. Luckily he recognised this as a scam and hung up on the caller," said CI Blemmings.

Cold-calling scamsters were not the only criminals to have targeted people in the North West, however.

At least two people reported being the victims of blackmailing attempts.

“Two e-mail scams were also reported. The person or persons behind these e-mails claimed that if the person did not transfer a sum of money to them, they would release personal information about them to the public. Luckily no money was transferred," said CI Blemmings.

In yet another report a member of the public received a call offering them assistance with a computer issue. The person behind the scam asked for their bank details and copies of identification.

Not realising this was a scam they provided these details, as well as allowing remote access to their computer. Fortunately they realised later this was a scam and the transaction was cancelled.

CI Blemmings continued: "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 they will go to great lengths to trick people and take advantage of their vulnerability and good faith.

"I can't stress enough - never ever disclose your personal or banking details to anyone over the phone or on e-mail, no matter how convincing they sound to you.

“Financial institutions, utility companies, law enforcement, HMRC, internet and telecoms providers will never phone or e-mail you and ask you to transfer money. They will never ask for remote access to your computer or request you to download software.

“If you have received a call of this kind, or if you’re concerned by unsolicited calls, emails or letters then please report it to Action Fraud via their website www.actionfraud.police.uk or by phoning 0300 123 2040, or call police on the non-emergency number 101.”

For further advice and information visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni