Police issue warning to local residents about online scam

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Police in Antrim and Newtownabbey are urging residents to be wary of potential scammers following a reported incident this week when a man unwittingly handed over control of his computer to fraudsters.

Chief Inspector John Allen explains: “A member of the public received a call from a man claiming to be from the internet company ‘Talk Talk’ asking him to log onto his computer to resolve a router issue. In the process of doing so his computer was compromised and his bank account accessed.

“The man became suspicious during the call and rang his bank who confirmed that money had left his account. The scammer then wiped the man’s desktop and demanded further money to have the data restored. This was refused and the call terminated.

“This is a tactic that is becoming increasingly common where members of the public are duped into believing the person they are talking to is a genuine company representative. The reality is it could happen to anyone so if you want to protect yourself against this type of fraud please remember the following:

• Never allow someone remote access to your computer – do not download any software or applications at someone else’s request. Such applications allow the scammer to see what is being displayed on the victim’s screen enabling them to document any personal details.

• Never give out your financial/banking details

• A genuine company will be happy for you to verify their caller is real. If this means telling the person you will ring them back once you have verified their details then do so.

“It’s important to report any fraud to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre, by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.”

For general advice on how to stay safe online, log on to www.GetSafeOnline.org