Get up to speed on the latest scams
Following Scamwise NI on Facebook can help you to keep you safe from scams and to warn others about the latest trends being reported.
Scamwise NI aims to raise awareness of scams and how to prevent them. The partnership has been developed by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and a range of other organisations, including public bodies, financial institutions, and voluntary sector representatives, including Churches.
More than 10,000 people currently follow the Scamwise NI Facebook page – www.facebook.com/scamwiseni
Recent examples highlighted on the page include a fraudulent call centre for customers seeking help with their Alexa device, several dating and romance scams, and a caller pretending to be from BT and warning that they were going to disconnect the householder’s internet due to unauthorised access.
Also, reports of a scam which appears to target church members. Scammers are pretending to be a member of a local church and sending messages to people asking them to buy gift vouchers and to send them to the number provided. The criminals may be getting details from church websites. If you receive a message like this, be sure to phone the person directly on a number you know to be correct to check this out. If you come across this scam, report it to the Police.
If you are not on Facebook, information is also available at www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/scamwiseni
People who are living alone or who are more vulnerable or naturally more trusting are at the greatest risk of being scammed and exploited, with most scams currently being attempted over the phone. Scammers also use emails, which can appear to be from official sources, or offers in the post, or even turn up on your doorstep to falsely offer help in this difficult time.
Any stereotype of a scammer as a lovable rogue trader is far from the truth. These are criminals seeking to trap anyone into parting with their money – a fraud that often has devastating consequences for the victim and leaves a sense of embarrassment or shame. Police are, though, very keen to encourage people who think that they may have been the victim of a scam (or an attempted scam) to report this so that officers can help them, and also find out more about the bigger picture of how scammers operate.
The four–step scam test can help you out if you receive a suspicious offer:
Sounds too good to true
Contacted out of the blue
Asked for personal details
Money is requested
And remember: If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.
The Church of Ireland, Roman Catholic Church, Presbyterian Church, Methodist Church, and the Irish Council of Churches are supporting Scamwise NI through the Church Leaders Group.
Church Leaders Group
The Church Leaders Group comprises the Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic Primates of All Ireland, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, and the President of the Irish Council of Churches.
© Church of Ireland February 2021