'If this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone,' warns police sergeant after fraudster fails in £45,000 phishing attempt
PUBLISHED: 15:40 17 March 2016 | UPDATED: 15:40 17 March 2016
It was a case of picking on the wrong man for a phishing fraudster who tried to con an Ely police officer out of tens of thousands of pounds.
Last weekend, Sergeant Jon Hiron received a text on his mobile phone, purporting to be from Barclays bank.
The message claimed that £1,976 had been taken from his account by the Apple Online Store, and that contact should be made with a number provided if the transaction was not made by him.
Jon phoned the number, where he was told to enter a series of codes and some personal information.
By scanning the small-print, Jon discovered that he was also being asked to authorise a transfer of a whopping £45,000 from his account.
Jon then offered to visit his local branch to resolve the issue, but was promptly hung up on.
Sgt Hiron said: “I’m not a gullible guy – I’ve seen all sorts of thing and I have years of service dealing with criminals. The fact the text message arrived apparently from Barclays in exactly the same chain of previously legitimate messages was really quite convincing – I didn’t question that at all.”
The police officer also issued a warning to potential fraud victims, saying: “If this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.”
Sgt Hiron’s warning was echoed by Cambridgeshire Constabulary, who said: “If you receive a message of this nature, don’t call the number in the text message - call your bank from the telephone number you usually use, or visit a branch in person.
If the situation is legitimate, they will have record of it. Never give out your password, safeword or pin number to anyone purporting to be from your bank.”
Barclays have since been notified of the incident.
For more information on Phishing Fraud, visit Action Fraud at http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/fraud-az-phishing.