iPhone scam victim speaks out to warn others of risk

By Claire Tennyson

A FINAGHY woman who was almost conned out of £6,100 after her iPhone mysteriously stopped working has spoken out in order to alert other users to the scam.

Marie Rooney told the South Belfast News how the problem with her phone began last week when her phone lost network signal, which she put down to having weak coverage.

After a few days of trying to rectify the problem, she then received a letter from her bank, Santander saying they believed there was fraudulent activity on her bank account.

On the advice to contact their fraud team she soon learnt that £2,700 had been withdrawn from her account and the tactic the fraudsters were using involved iPhones.

Those embroiled in the scam are believed to cancel people’s phones and order a new sim card.

The reason for doing this is because Santander, along with other banks, send out a one-off password in the form of a text when a new sim is installed.

The fraudster then takes on the victim’s identity and gains access to personal information.

This trick enables them to access all accounts and transfer money freely. Subsequently Marie checked her account and saw there had been two further standing orders processed with amounts of £2,700 and £700.

The total accumulated by the thieves was £6,100.

Speaking to the South Belfast News, Marie said: “Santander were quite efficient and the money has been reimbursed into my accounts but it doesn’t take away the stress, worry and inconvenience of the whole situation.”

Marie’s phone network provider 3 were unaware of the scam but have now been alerted since the incident took place.

Although unsure as to how the fraudsters got access to other information such as her name, address and phone number, Marie believes it was retrieved through personal emails when she had been asked to update her details.

Marie concluded: “This is one of many scams going on, but I felt it important to raise people’s awareness of it.

“It would be easy to put it down to a problem with your phone as I did but it is important for people to be aware how easily this can happen.”

A spokesman for Santander said online banking customers should ask for new log-in details to be sent by post rather than e-mail or text to ensure “maximum security” if an account has been compromised.

“In some cases where an account has been compromised your bank will advise you to close the account and open a new one to minimise the risk of any future fraudulent activity,” he added.

“Again, ensure your new password and log-in details are sent by post.”

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