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Public urged to protect vulnerable from scammers

25 May 2018

The Derry and Strabane Policing and Community Safety Partnership is urging residents to become more aware of scams due to an increase in attempts to target vulnerable people locally.

Local community representatives and councilors have advised the partnership that incidents are on the rise, and Chair of the Derry and Strabane PCSP, Alderman Drew Thompson, warned people to be more aware of the risks.

“I would really urge people to be more aware of scams that target individuals through the internet or over the phone,” he stressed.

“Scamming is widespread in Northern Ireland and both the PSNI and PSCP are receiving reports of various scams that can lead to significant financial consequences for those who fall victim to these fraudsters. The PCSP has produced a short DVD ‘A Costly Subject’ on how to deal with scams and this is available to community groups wishing to raise awareness of this important issue.

“The partnership or PSNI can also provide copies of ‘A Little Book of Big Scams’ dealing with various types of scams and how to avoid them. Finally, I would advise everyone that if it seems too good to be true it should be treated with suspicion. Further information on scams is provided at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/scamwiseni

Local Community representative Sean Collins of Community Restorative Justice, added: “When delivering Scam prevention presentations, I always reinforce one simple rule. Never, ever give out your bank account or credit card details to anyone. Remembering this will thwart most of the scams that are currently circulating.

“Remember these ‘cold callers’, no matter how nice they seem, are strangers. Ask yourself if you would open your purse or wallet to a stranger. Giving out card or bank details is exactly like doing that.”

PSNI Chief Inspector Paul McCracken advised people to look out for vulnerable neighbours and relatives. “Scammers will target people they perceive to be more vulnerable, such as older people,” he explained. “Take a few minutes today to speak to a grandparent, neighbour, or family friend about how they can avoid being the victim of a scam. Let them know it’s not rude to hang up if they feel something is wrong and that no one should pressurise them into handing over bank details or personal information.

“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.”