The Armagh couple swindled £80,000 from the London police.

Police said the couple were scammed after they received a phone call on Sunday (March 13) from a man claiming to be from the London Police’s ‘Cheat Squad’.

The PSNI said the man was told his account had been hacked and he should check it out.

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He noticed a transaction on his account that he did not make, and the scammer told him to create a separate account for transferring funds.

Fraud warning

A PSNI spokesperson said: “Both the man and his wife did this and in just minutes, £77,000 was transferred from their accounts to the scammer. Investigations are underway on this matter.”

Inspector Mark Conway said: “Any amount of money lost by a fraudster is a terrible experience. In this particular case, where such a significant amount of money was stolen, it is devastating.

“This couple was swindled out of their hard-earned money — tens of thousands of pounds. We can only imagine how painful and traumatic this ordeal has become for them.”

Inspector Conway says the threat of fraud, both online and offline, against the public “is a constant focus for us, and I want to appeal to people who should never reveal their personal or financial details over the phone under any circumstances.”

“Please be alert. Fraudsters are ruthless and constantly find ways and means to deceive people,” says Inspector Conway. “Always err on the side of caution. It is also very important that if you have elderly family members, talk to them and tell them that legitimate vendors will never ask for their personal details, such as banking information, over the phone. This is a really important conversation.

“The protection of your personal and banking data is essential. Never disclose them to strangers.”

A PSNI spokesperson said: “Any consumer who has been scammed with funds leaving their bank account should contact your bank/financial institution immediately so that refunds, cancellations, and services can be attempted. Anyone who is concerned that they have been the victim of a scam can report it to Action Fraud through their website www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. You can also call us on 101 or send a message online, using our – specials form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/

“We also have a lot of tips on our website https://bit.ly/3tbprn0.”

Information and tips are also available at www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni or on the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni.

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