Lochside Garage

Claims that bank closure leaves people more vulnerable

One local woman was close to being scammed out of her life savings.

JULY is “Scams Awareness Month,” but as we’re all too aware, some of us painfully so, scammers can strike at any time of the year. 
Last week, one woman in Belleek came scarily close to being scammed out of her life savings. 
In fact, if not for the assistance of a local councillor who called in while she was on the phone, the scammers would’ve made off with close to £30,000 belonging to the lady. 
Cllr John Coyle, who was recently appointed chair of the Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP), had called to the visit the woman last Wednesday. 
When he arrived she had been on the phone for some time, to people who claimed they were calling from BT and that her account had been hacked by someone in California. 
The people said they were trying to return money to the lady’s account.
 Cllr Coyle said the next thing they were asking her for £5,000. Quickly realising the people on the other end of the phone were scammers, he had he lady put the call on speaker phone and put an end to the conversation. 
He then contacted the lady’s bank to warn them not to let anyone access her account.
A couple of days later, Cllr Coyle said the bank had contacted the lady to say someone had tried to access her account, where she had a significant amount of money. 
“They were trying to clear her out and leave her with nothing,” said Cllr Coyle, adding that he  he believed the closure of the bank in Belleek made people like this lady more vulnerable to such crime. 
“If the bank was there in Belleek and that lady got that phone call, at least she could’ve gone down and spoke to somebody in the bank, and told them she thought her account was compromised, can you please stop it,” he said. 
“Whereas, if your phone call is transferred back to the scammers who intercept it, you don’t know if you’re speaking to the right people or not.”


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