Student in Northern Ireland scammed out of £200k by fraudsters pretending to be police

Student in Northern Ireland scammed out of £200k by fraudsters pretending to be police

A STUDENT in Northern Ireland was scammed out of £200,000 after fraudsters told her she was suspected of committing a crime.

The Belfast-based woman, who is an international student from China, was targeted online by the scammers who then contacted her by phone.

The men, who were posing as officers from ‘Beijing Police’ told her she was suspected of being involved in money laundering and threatened her with arrest if she didn't pay £200,000.

After she transferred the funds, the woman never heard from the men again.

The PSNI’s Detective Superintendent Richard Thornton said: "This is a really despicable, calculated crime.

“These fraudsters contacted the student online, and even went as far as dressing in uniforms claiming to be officers from 'Beijing Police'.

“They went to great lengths to make themselves appear genuine, but that's the last thing they were."

The PSNI has revealed it received two similar reports last year of scammers who had targeted Chinese students studying in Belfast.

They lost a total of £105,000 to fraudsters who claimed they were from the 'Chinese Embassy' and 'Chinese police'.

"Being aware of the signs of scams can help prevent these fraudulent crimes and keep people and their money safe,” said, Detective Superintendent Thornton, who added: "The reality is scammers will stop at nothing to trick you out of your money, for your loss and their gain.

“Being scam aware can make all the difference."

The PSNI advice to “stop a scam” is to apply 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.

If you have been a victim of a scam, report it to police on 101, and to your bank immediately.