Detectives investigating reports of fraud involving scammers impersonating police officers have made six arrests in the past 24 hours.
The first three arrests were made in the Ormeau Road area of south Belfast late yesterday afternoon (Friday 28th May), shortly after 4pm.
Police had received a report that a 65-year-old woman was on her way to a location in the area to hand over £40,000 of cash to individuals she was duped into believing were police officers.
Following a proactive operation, officers arrested three men aged 25, 26 and 32 years old on suspicion of fraud by false representation and they all remain in custody.
A parallel police operation in the West of the city resulted in a further three arrests in Devonshire Street.
A woman aged 30 years old, and two men aged 23 and 28 years old, were arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation and they also remain in custody this afternoon.
Detective Superintendent Zoe McKee said: “Earlier this week, we highlighted our campaign about devious scammers posing as police officers.
“These predatory criminals operate in a clandestine world where they seek to exploit and gain from members of our older community, those who have worked and saved hard and contributed to society, only to be exploited of money and other personal possessions.
“These fraudsters can be extremely convincing and use a variety of scenarios to make their victims believe they are genuine.
“Their ability to manipulate can only be described a truly disgusting.
“The impact this type of crime can have has far-reaching effects, but we can all do something together to protect and prevent this from happening to our mums, dad, grans and grandads.
“Any information you may have about this type of fraud is important to us.
“If you know, or anyone you know, has received or receives a call from someone claiming they’re a police officer asking for money, or their bank details or asking to leave cash outside their home, please tell us.
“Your Police Service will never ring you asking for such details.
“If this does happen to you, or someone you know, end the call immediately and call us on 101. Never provide any personal details to the caller.
“I would also take this opportunity to ask family members to take the time to have a conversation with older loved ones about scams, and in particular this type of scam, so they don’t fall victim to these callous criminals.”
Detective Superintendent McKee added: “My message is two-fold.
“Guarding your personal and banking details is essential.
“Never disclose them to any unauthorised person or allow anyone access to them via your computer, regardless of how convincing they may seem. Do everything you can to protect yourself.
“And to those who seek to engage in this type of criminality, we will never give up, expect that the Police Service will use every available resource to not only pursue a criminal justice outcome, but more importantly to protect individuals and communities from harm and exploitation.
“It is never too late to report this type of incident to police. If you have received a call of this kind, or if you’re concerned by the intent of unsolicited calls, emails or letters then please report it to Action Fraud via their website www.actionfraud.police.uk or by phoning 0300 123 2040, or call police on the non-emergency number 101.”
For further advice and information visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni.
ScamwiseNI has recently issued some helpful videos which show how these type of scams can take place and the terrible impacts for the victims.