An older man from the North West was defrauded of £7,000 this week by online scammers who gained access to his machine after they told him it had been hacked.
It was one of three instances of cyber-crime on just one day this week during which close to £30,000 was stolen from older people across the North.
Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said: “We are investigating a report of an man in the North West who had £7,000 removed from his bank account on Wednesday afternoon.
"The man was informed by the fraudsters that his internet had been hacked and needed to be fixed. Remote access was gained to the victim’s computer and the money was taken from his account."
On the same day £10,000 was transferred from a North Down man's business account to an address in Scotland before being subsequently withdrawn by criminals.
And in Tyrone a man was defrauded of £9,000 after being told by scammers that he had a problem with his internet connection.
“Over the course of a few hours, almost £30,000 was stolen from three vulnerable individuals. Those who carry out this criminality target communities, causing a devastating and lasting impact to their victims," said Chief Superintendent Walls.
“Our advice is always be wary of any individual who cold calls you. Don’t allow any cold caller remote access to your computer. Be especially suspicious of anyone who asks for personal details, money, banking or credit card information via the telephone. Once a scammer is in a victim’s computer and personal details are given by the victim, their online bank accounts can be accessed and significant amounts of money lost; money they may well never get back.
“Guarding your personal and banking details is essential. Never disclose them to any unauthorised person or allow anyone access to them via your computer.
“If you have received a call of this kind or are concerned by the intent of 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," he added.
Further advice and information can also be obtained by visiting www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni