Online banking telephone scam

Several older customers have been targeted by telephone by a fraudster. Unauthorised transactions have then occurred from their bank accounts.

What has happened

Several older bank customers have been targeted in the Lisburn area by a fraudster who has gained access to their online banking and has carried out
transactions on the account(s), making purchases for flights, travel and so on across the world. 

They have also been buying items through PayPal.

The criminal will then contact the victim by phone, pointing out to them that the fraudulent transaction has occurred and convincing them that the ‘SECURE PASSPHRASE’ that has been sent to them (by the bank) is part of the fraud and persuading them to disclose it to them.

Usually by getting them to phone the bank back straight away the scammer is using the trick of keeping the phone line open. When the customer makes the call the fraudster is at the other end and receives the passphrase that allows them to complete the fraudulent payment.

It is believed to be the same person involved is well-practised in this type of fraud and it is believed that he has targeted other areas in Northern Ireland in the past.  

What you should do

If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to the Police by calling 101, or report the incident online to Action Fraud or by calling 0300 123 2040.


The fraudster uses 'social engineering’ on their intended victim. In this case it is over the phone and known as ‘vishing’. You can watch the video on vishing here

Be wary of anyone who asks you for confidential details.


  • the bank will never ask you to transfer funds
  • the bank will never call or email you for your full or partial PIN, password or smartcard codes and so on
  • the bank will never ask you to download screen-sharing or remote control software (unless you have initiated the request)
  • don’t assume an email, text or phone call is genuine
  • stay in control, don’t be rushed
  • listen to your instincts
  • if you receive a suspicious call, use a different line to call the bank back using an independently sourced number
  •  if an alternative phone isn’t available, phone a friend to check that the line is free
  •  it takes two people to disconnect a call

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