Police and both local universities are working together to raise awareness about scams after two international students studying in Northern Ireland lost £105,000.
Both students were contacted by the scammers recently. One student was told by a person posing as a Chinese police officer to transfer £70,000 which they did. Another student was threatened with prison if they did not transfer £35,000 into an account after getting a call from a fraudster claiming to be from what they said was the ‘Chinese Embassy’.
Chair of Scamwise NI Partnership, Police Service of Northern Ireland, Superintendent Gerard Pollock, said: “Sadly, this is a new version of a scam we have seen before, where fraudsters pose as police officers or government officials to con people out of money, now the criminals are posing as international police officers and government officials to target international students. The huge sum of money lost by these students are eye watering but, unfortunately, all the criminals see is their gain.
“I believe other students, both here and elsewhere in the UK, may have received these calls and could have lost substantial amounts of money.
“Scammers will stop at nothing to trick you out of money with these calls, for your loss and their gain. The easiest way to stop it is to apply these five rules – always hang up the call immediately; always delete texts requesting personal information or bank account details; never call the number back; never click on links in text, or respond to unsolicited texts; never ever transfer money to another account. So, it’s important to make clear you should never transfer money to another account having received a call from someone you do not know. Hang up the call.”
If you have been a victim of a scam, report it to 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