Northern Ireland

QUB researcher loses £1,200 in 'Home Office' scam

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Media captionThe man spoke anonymously to BBC reporter Kelly Bonner

A researcher at Queens University, Belfast, has been defrauded out of almost £1,200 by scammers pretending to be from the Home Office.

The man, who does not want to be identified, moved to Northern Ireland last month to begin working at Queen's.

On Wednesday, he was contacted by someone claiming to be from the Home Office who demanded money from him.

They said he was being investigated for financial crime in India and would have to leave the UK unless he paid a fine.

'Educated'

The man replied that he did not have the £1,800 they were demanding, but did agree to transfer almost £1,200 to the fraudsters.

In a bid to warn other potential victims of the scam, the man has spoken anonymously to BBC News NI reporter, Kelly Bonner.

"Unfortunately, I made the transfer," the researcher said.

"I consider myself fairly educated, but if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone."

The man, who moved to Northern Ireland with his wife and two young children, said he is now struggling to support his family.

According to the PSNI, 17% of people living in Northern Ireland have been the victim of a scam in the last three years.

However, this figure does not include the thousands of others who have recognised a scam or those who have been a victim but did not report it to police.

The advice from the PSNI is, if you are contacted out of the blue, and asked for money or personal details over the phone, then it is probably a scam.

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