Information from Scamwise NI


The P.S.N.I., Northern Ireland Trading Standards and local Financial Institutions have identified an increase in financial phone scams which can be intimidating, threatening and forceful in their nature, often pushing for immediate online payments or for the victim to make a payment via their bank branch.   Generally the demand is for sums of money in regard to overdue or underpaid bills, payments, utilities, income tax etc.   The fraudsters tell their victims that failure to make immediate payment may lead to court action and even arrest.
Recently fraudsters have been purporting to be from the HMRC (Tax Office) requesting payment for underpaid /outstanding tax bills.  Victims are told if there is a need to call into or refer to their Bank not to disclose that the payment is for HMRC and it is for a friend, associate or some other party in need of urgent funds.  The victim is told that disclosing to the bank that the payment is for HMRC may cause a delay in the processing, or indeed in some cases that Bank staff are under investigation themselves and should not be trusted. The fraudsters reinforce that any delays in making the payment could leave the victim facing arrest or subject to court proceedings. 


Requests to move money to another bank/account - A genuine bank or trusted organisation will never contact you asking for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account or bank. Don’t give out personal or financial details.
Personal information - Always question uninvited approaches and never give out personal or financial details, in case it’s a scam. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number.
Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic.Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and address or even your mother’s maiden name), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Be mindful of who you trust – criminals may try and trick you into their confidence by telling you that you’ve been a victim of fraud or they are trying to protect you from prosecution. Remember, criminals can also make any telephone number appear on your phone handset so even if you recognise it or it seems authentic, do not use it as verification they are genuine.
Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision - Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or some other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot; they would never ask you to transfer money into another account.  Remember to stop and take time to carefully consider your actions. A genuine bank or some other trusted organisation won’t rush you or mind waiting if you want time to think.
Listen to your instincts - If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. Criminals may lull you into a false sense of security when you are out and about or rely on your defences being down when you’re in the comfort of your own home. They may appear trustworthy, but they may not be who they claim to be.