26 Mar 2019
UK officials are warning of a sharp uptick in crooks posing as law enforcement officials in phone scams that have netted hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The fraudsters, who pretend to be officers of the National Crime Agency (NCA) and cite accurate information about the governmental body, have primarily targeted citizens over the age of 60, some of whom have lost their life savings as a result. The fake agents tell their victims that they have been targeted by a bank scam and consequently must disclose personal information and grant remote access to their computers.
At times, fraudsters have convinced individuals to transfer their funds to “safe” accounts controlled by the perpetrators.
Reports of such scams have risen over 400 percent in the past fiscal year, according to the agency, which said it knew of 393 instances of the crime since April 2018.
In one instance, a 70-year-old London man transferred £350,000—his life savings—after crooks pretending to be NCA officers and staff from an IT security firm convinced him he needed to protect the funds, the agency said.
The NCA reminded the public that their officers have been instructed to never ask for remote access to computers or seek personal information such as passwords, bank account numbers, or card details.
“These fraudsters may sound very plausible or put pressure on you. Don’t let them,” said Chris Hogben, the NCA’s head of security. “Even if you have the smallest doubt, hang up and use a different phone to call our Control Centre.”
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