Ulster Bank staff foil £20k customer scam

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Staff at a County Armagh bank have been praised after they stopped a customer from being defrauded of £20,000.

They noticed a woman trying to transfer the money from her own account, after being called by a fraudster claiming to be from BT.

No money was lost and the woman was advised to change her passwords.

On the PSNI's Craigavon Facebook page, the police said it was a "cowardly and intrusive sort of manipulation we see on an infuriatingly regular basis".

The would-be victim had been called by the fraudster telling her of internet connection issues in her area.

After agreeing that she wanted her WiFi to be "fixed", the woman received another call claiming someone was trying to funnel money through her account.

The scammer then coached her to download a legitimate app, normally used by businesses, but used by the cold callers to access her device, her email and online bank accounts.

She was then advised that money had to be transferred to a different account to assist the NCA (National Crime Agency), even being told she would get £500 for doing so.

After moving money from her savings account to her current account to trick her into thinking this money was there, the scammers convinced her to walk to the Ulster Bank in Lurgan to check her account.

This was an attempt to show her the "new money' was there - all the while she was still speaking to the scammers on the phone.

The fraudsters convinced their would-be victim to tell banking staff the money was for "home improvements".

However, staff became suspicious and alerted Scamwise NI - a joint campaign by the PSNI, the Department of Justice and the Policing Board.

The PSNI praised the "excellent training and customer care from Ulster Bank" for their awareness.

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PSNI Ch Insp Jon Burrows later tweeted: "A big thank you to staff at Ulster Bank in Lurgan who spotted the signs of customer being defrauded into transferring £20,000 to a scammer.

"Following their call we attended the bank promptly and together persuaded the victim to stop the transaction. Criminal investigation underway."

Advice

The PSNI advise using the "scam test" when trying to assess whether a call is a scam or legitimate:

  • Seems too good to be true
  • Contacted out of the blue
  • Asked for personal details
  • Money requested

Police also encourage the public to contact them if ever in doubt about the legitimacy of a call.

They also remind the public to never allow remote access to their phone or computer as no law enforcement agency would ever do that or ask them to transfer money to a different account.

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