PSNI urges caution following spike in scams

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Victims received emails, phone calls and automated messages from the scammers

Police have urged the public to be cautious following a spike in scams across Northern Ireland.

The PSNI received 24 reports of scams and attempts to con people into making bogus payments over a two-day period this week.

The reports, from people across counties Armagh, Down and Antrim, were made on Monday and Tuesday.

Those targeted received automated messages from people claiming to work for HMRC and internet providers.

Despite attempts, police said that none of the potential victims had lost any money.

'Sexual nature'

Ch Supt Simon Walls told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme about the different techniques scammers had used to try to trick people into making payments.

"Some callers said they received emails and calls demanding they pay a certain sum of money using Bitcoin or else they'd post videos online of them watching footage of a sexual nature," he said.

"In another instance, a man received a call from someone claiming to represent BT, who said their internet had been hacked and requested access to their account.

"Thankfully in this case, the scam was spotted and no money was lost".

'Suspicious'

Ch Supt Simon Walls urged the public to be cautious with texts, emails, phone calls or letters asking for payment or personal details.

"Our advice is always be wary of any individual who cold calls you. Don't allow any cold caller remote access to your computer," he said.

"Be especially suspicious of anyone who asks for personal details, banking or credit information.

"Guarding your personal banking details is essential. Never disclose them to any unauthorised person or allow anyone access to them via your computer".

Anyone who is targeted by a potential scammer is urged to contact the police or Action Fraud.