Fermanagh woman loses all her savings to crooks

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A Fermanagh woman transferred her savings totaling £ 14,000 to brazen crooks claiming to be from the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Rose Connolly had some money set aside for travel, but those plans were shattered following a phone call on Wednesday, June 2.

HMRC calls

Recalling the phone call that started it, Rose said, “I had been getting calls from HMRC for months and never answered them. And I got this call on Wednesday morning which had a number very similar to mine.

“So I answered them and they said they were from the National Crime Agency and my national insurance number had been used to open 15 bank accounts to use £ 72,000 in fraudulent funds or whatever and I panicked and I sort of agreed. ”

One person, claiming to be Allen Scott of the NCA, told her to call his local police stations and when she looked up the number online, Rose thought it was legitimate.

The person on the other end of the phone said she was from Belfast Police Station and Rose believed she had been transferred from her local post due to the seriousness of the incident.

“What I had to do was send my money from Bank of Ireland to Revolut because they said we had to close all your accounts to make sure the scammer wouldn’t take money out of my account.”

Relief turned to fear

After sending the money in two transfers of £ 5,000 and £ 9,000, Rose was then instructed to transfer it to a ‘federal government safeguard account’ so that investigations could be conducted and the money returned. once these have been completed.

She admitted that after doing all of this she felt some relief, but it quickly turned to fear following a conversation with her mother.

“I called my mom and she said they were crooks and they had to call the police and the Bank of Ireland.”

Rose remembers how she felt when making those phone calls: “Absolutely terrible. Absolutely in shock. I didn’t want to believe it at first.

“At first I kept my head to see if it was a scam and called Bank of Ireland and I think it wasn’t until the second day that I started to feel this tough illness, it was honestly an illness. A lump in the throat, a lump in the stomach. It was just awful.

Savings

The £ 14,000 was all of Rose’s savings that she intended to use for travel and to help her settle in life.

She says the relevant authorities are investigating the scam but has not been given any assurance whether she will ever see a dime of her money, but she wants to raise awareness of what happened to her.

“I’ve always seen that [type of] thing on TV and radio and I thought that would never happen to me.

“But they made it so believable and made me panic and fed on my emotions and frustrations and fears,” Rose added.

More vigilance

In recent weeks, police have urged people to be extra vigilant following a series of scams that have resulted in the loss of more than £ 30,000.

Superintendent Gerard Pollock said: “We understand that any amount of money lost to a con artist is a horrible experience for anyone.

“The threat of fraud, both online and offline, against the public is a constant concern for us and I want to take this opportunity to once again call on people not to disclose their personal or financial information over the phone; always err on the side of caution.

“It’s really important that if you have older family members talk to them and tell them that legitimate providers will never look up their personal information, such as banking information, over the phone. It’s a very important conversation to have.

“The protection of your personal and banking data is essential. Never disclose them to an unauthorized person.

“If you have any doubts about a call you receive, hang up and phone the organization the person claims to represent to verify its authenticity.

“Ideally, place the call from another phone to make sure the original caller is not on the line. Never let yourself be pressured into making a transaction over the phone.

“If you have any concerns about unsolicited calls, emails or letters, please report it to Action Fraud through their website www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. You can also call the police at non-urgent number 101. ”

For more tips and important information on potential scams, visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni



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