Police are renewing appeals for vigilance after more reports were received of fraud involving scammers phoning the public purporting to be from computer broadband and search engine providers.

In a single case this week alone, a victim in the Mid-Ulster area was defrauded of £21,000.

Superintendent Simon Walls said: “The scammers have contacted their intended victims by telephone warning that their online bank accounts had been hacked or there is a problem with their wireless router or broadband speed.

"Typically the victim then gives the scammer remote access to their computer to fix the issue. Once the scammer is in to the computer and personal details are given by the victim, their online bank accounts can be accessed and significant amounts of money lost, money you may well never get back.

"The scammers may also advise their intended victim they are due a financial refund and ask for details of your bank account in relation to this which they will then target.”

“Always be wary of any individual that 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.”

“If you are at all suspicious about a call that you receive, hang up and phone the organisation that the person is purporting to represent to check their authenticity. Ideally make the call from another telephone so you can be sure the original caller has not remained on the line. Never be pressured into a transaction over the phone.”

“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.”

“Further advice and information can also be obtained by visiting www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni.”

“And remember if you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.”

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