A local woman who was tricked by a scammer posing as an employee of her phone network is warning others to be vigilant following her troubling experience.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was contacted by who she believed to be a representative of O2, the phone network which she has a contract with.

Speaking to The Impartial Reporter, the woman outlined what happened. “Basically, my son got a phone call on his mobile; he’s with O2 and I pay for him [as part of my contract].

“He came to me and said, ‘O2 is on the phone and they want to speak to the account holder’. So I took the call and it was someone who said they were from O2,” she said.

Aware of potential scammers, the woman explained that she was dubious when she first answered the phone.

When the person on the phone offered her a 40 per cent discount off her contract for “being a good customer”, she asked him to prove that he worked for O2.

“He was able to tell me my name, address, that I had two phones with O2, with two phone numbers registered, and he told me that my last bill was paid in August and he named the date.

‘Sounds legit’

“So then I thought, ‘This sounds legit – how else would he know this?’,” revealed the woman.

The man went on to tell her that to confirm that she was the account holder, he would send her a code via text, which she would have to confirm back to him.

“When the code came through to me via text, it came through as ‘O2UK’. Confirming the code, I read it to him,” she said.

However, she later discovered that by confirming the code, she had granted the scammer access to all of her details.

“All he needed was that code to get in [to my account], I’ve since discovered from O2,” she added.

During the phone call, the line kept cutting off. This started to make her suspicious, leading her to call O2 Customer Services to double-check the legitimacy of the call.

The O2 Customer Services employee swiftly confirmed the woman’s fears – that she had been scammed.

“They were very quickly able to tell me that, first of all, O2 do not ring people with discounts, and that they do not have an offer of a 40 per cent discount – that is not something that O2 would be doing,” the woman told this newspaper.

She said her heart sank when she got this news: “I nearly died! I was thinking, ‘What have I gone and done’.”

Proving how quickly the scammers work, the legitimate O2 Customer Services employee highlighted that the Fermanagh woman’s address had already been changed to an English address.

“What they [such scammers] do is they order a phone and get it sent to that English address, and then charge it to your account,” said the woman.

Fortunately, due to her quick action, the woman was able to get the O2 Customer Services employee to change all her details back before any order was placed from her account by the scammer.

“I had done it so quickly, if I had left it any longer, they could have got themselves a nice iPhone,” she said, noting that following the call to O2 Customer Services, she also notified her bank of what had happened.

Warning others to be cautious of calls from claimed O2 operatives, she advised: “I would just hang up and ring O2 back [at their official number provided on their website] to check before you give any information out at all.”

Still on edge

Although she managed to sort the issue before any money was stolen from her account, the woman says she is still on edge following the scam.

“What other things are they going to do with my personal information?” she told this newspaper.