Alarm raised after pensioners targeted in phone ‘scam’

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Editorial Image

The PSNI has issued a warning over scam calls after a number of elderly people were targeted by fraudsters last night.

One Larne pensioner raised the alarm after receiving a phone call at 6.20 pm demanding payment of £6,987.

She said that the caller had claimed to be from HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs).

She indicated that the caller, who threated the woman with legal action, spoke with an American accent.

The PSNI has stated: “If you’ve had the misfortune of receiving one of these calls, I would advise you hang up straight away. If you have passed any details, call 101 and let us know, don’t be embarrassed these scam artists are very convincing.

“This morning, when we reviewed the calls for Mid and East Antrim over last 24 hours, we saw that unfortunately, a number of elderly people living in our district have reported getting these calls, and understandably are quite upset and worried about it.

“Please speak to your elderly relatives and neighbours and let them know this is happening. Generally the older generation don’t want to be rude on the phone to someone, but tell them if they have any doubt at all about a call to hang up straight away.

“Another useful source of information is Action Fraud. You can report fraud on their website, but it is also contains a lot of useful advice.

“Remember - never pass personal details unless you’re one hundred per cent sure it’s a genuine call.”

The Community Relations Council added: “It is very important that we look after people in our communities, please pass on this information to others and talk to your neighbours about the scams that are doing the rounds.

“Please be wary of cold-calling by way of both mobile and landline telephone. In the last 24 hours, reports have been received of cold-calling to home telephone numbers in and around the Doagh village area of Newtownabbey. These incidents are being investigated by police here in L District.

“A number of elderly residents have been contacted by persons claiming to be from HMRC yesterday around 1.00 pm. The number used by the criminals is 01618504577.

“Do not ring back any number you are not sure about as criminals can use a premium number type scam and on occasions request money transfers or purchase of gift Itune cards etc.

HMRC issued a statement on Twitter this morning advising that this is a “phishing scam” and anyone who has received an automated call or voicemail from “HMRC” claiming a lawsuit is being brought against them should not comply and report it to HMRC.