Warning after students targeted in scam

Police and the two local universities are working together to raise awareness of scams after two international students studying in Northern Ireland lost £105,000.

The two students were contacted by the scammers recently. A student was told by someone posing as a Chinese police officer to transfer £70,000, which he did. Another student has been threatened with jail if he does not transfer £35,000 into an account after receiving a call from a fraudster claiming to be from the ‘Chinese Embassy’.

Chairman of Scamwise NI Partnership, Police Service of Northern Ireland, Superintendent Gerard Pollock said: “Unfortunately this is a new version of a scam we’ve seen before, where fraudsters are impersonating police officers or government officials to scam people out of money, now criminals are impersonating international police officers and government officials to target international students.The huge amount of money lost by these students is mind-boggling but unfortunately all the criminals see is their gain.

“I believe other students here and elsewhere in the UK may have received these calls and could have lost significant sums.

“The scammers will stop at nothing to cheat you out of money with these calls, for your loss and their gain. The easiest way to stop it is to follow these five rules: always hang up the call immediately; always delete texts asking for personal information or bank details; never call back the number; never click on links in the text or respond to unsolicited texts; never transfer money to another account. It is therefore important to clarify that you should never transfer money to another account after receiving a call from someone you don’t know. Hang up the call.”

If you have been scammed, report it to the police on 101, to your bank immediately, online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.
Information and advice is also available at http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni

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