Man loses £1,500 in ‘shopper’ scam

TRADING Standards are warning consumers about ‘mystery shopper’ scams after a Lisburn man lost £1,500.

The man was caught out after replying to an email offering him the chance to earn extra income by becoming a mystery shopper.

He agreed to carry out an exercise on a local money transfer outlet, after being told that the business was concerned about a lapse in its services.

The man gave the scammers his bank account details and £1,500 was subsequently lodged into his account. He was then given further instructions to send £1,300 of this money to an address in Nigeria by money transfer.

However, when the victim tried to withdraw cash from an ATM, his card was retained by the machine. The bank’s fraud department told him that his account was under investigation.

It was discovered the £1,500 lodged into his account was part of a fraudulent banking transaction. The consumer then had to pay the total amount back to his bank.

Kerry McAuley of the Trading Standards Service said: “This is a nasty scam which exploits the promise of paid work to defraud victims. We are urging anyone who is considering work from home opportunities to be extremely wary of job offers from individuals or companies overseas.”

Police in Lisburn advised everyone to be careful when receiving international phone calls.

“Ask where they are phoning from, where they have got your details from and where they have obtained your telephone number,” said a PSNI spokesperson. “Ask them if there is a number you can phone back on or if there is another representative from their company you can contact.

“To prevent becoming a victim of telephone scams householders should not pick up calls that display as international unless they are expecting a call from someone overseas.

“Similarly, if you pick up the telephone and hear an automated voice, hang up straight away, and under no circumstances should you press anything on the keypad during an automated call. Don’t forget that your phone could still be connected to the automated call for a time after you hang up, so always check for the dialling tone before you make any further calls.”

For more crime prevention advice ring 0845 600 8000.