A WARNING has been issued about a sophisticated mobile banking app scam which could have left an Adver reader £600 poorer.

John, whose name has been anonymised, has urged people to take care when selling items during the Christmas period in case they get caught out by a similar trick.

John was trying to sell his iPhone 12 when he nearly became the target of two conmen.

John had agreed a deal with a man who wanted to buy his old iPhone after it was advertised on Facebook Marketplace.

The man, who came to his house to pick up the phone with a friend, presented John with an authentic-looking mobile Allied Irish Bank app.

John input the usual details needed for a bank transfer – his account number, sort code and account name – and it seemed as if the transfer had worked smoothly.

When the two men tried to make off with the phone, John insisted that they wait until he’d received the money in his account.

He said: “I know my way around my own mobile banking app pretty well as that’s where I do most of my banking.

“I had no reason to suspect there was anything suspicious.

“It didn’t even cross my mind but it will in the future so that’s why I want people to be careful.

“I want to pass on information of a situation I experienced so that people are aware that this is going around.

“It’s so easy to fall for. At one point I very nearly thought ‘fine, take the phone’.

“They were getting more and more agitated and accused me of taking their money but I stood my ground and told them to calm down and have some tea.”

At one stage, the men tried to slip out with the phone and, when John stopped them, he became concerned that they would turn violent.

He added: “They said to me, 'Nice car – shame if it were to go missing' and I thought, what can of worms have I opened up here?

“It was all cool and groovy until it was getting to the point where I was thinking it might become violent. If you push it too far, how are they going to react?”

It was only after the worrying incident that John considered it was probably a scam. He found an article on DublinLive where Zongtian Guo described a similar experience with a fake AIB app.

An Allied Irish Banks spokesman said: “AIB advises all consumers and businesses to be vigilant, and never to trust an app on someone else’s device. 

“We recommend that consumers should always check that they have received payment into their account before they give the goods they’re selling to a third party.”