FRAUDSTERS are targeting those watching religious services online during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In recent weeks, parishes across Cork and the rest of the country have been live streaming Masses on Facebook, as access to church services has been restricted to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
While churches will begin a phased reopening next week in the Cork and Ross diocese for personal prayer, church services including Masses are not scheduled to return until at least July 20.
Now, people are turning to Facebook to view religious services, with viewers from across the globe.
During recently-streamed Masses in Cork, viewers have spotted a comment from a Facebook account of a person claiming to be based in Nigeria, seeking funds from the Irish faithful.
The comment says: "Pls someone should help me with little token to buy food my baby is starving pls help a single mother depression is killing me pls help pls."
Gardai have not received a report of someone being duped into contacting the woman to give her money.
But they are urging people to be wary and to never hand over funds in such circumstances.
It is the latest in a range of scams which have surfaced since the Covid-19 outbreak.
Last week, gardaí warned about a scam involving mobile phone credit.
In that fraud, when the phone credit is handed over, a claim is then made that the person is having trouble paying via a mobile app. During this exchange a photo of the phone credit is captured and although the slip of credit is returned to the shop, the person has obtained the credit information and uses it subsequently.
Separately, messages on social media applications claiming to be from SuperValu and An Post were used in phishing attempts.
And in recent weeks, financial institutions have also issued warnings about fraudsters sending email and text communications to people seeking personal information.