Fraudsters exploiting coronavirus fears, Cork gardaí warn

Fraudsters exploiting coronavirus fears, Cork gardaí warn
Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Fraudsters are exploiting the Covid-19 outbreak to facilitate fraud and cyber-crime.

The force in the Cork, Kerry and Limerick Southern Region issued a warning on Monday.

A Garda spokesperson said: “Our police colleagues in the UK have had reports made by victims that attempted to purchase protective face masks from fraudulent sellers. Reporting numbers are expected to rise as the virus continues to spread across the world. Fraudsters are also sending out corona virus-themed phishing emails in an attempt to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive personal and financial details.

“Some of the other tactics we’ve identified from victim reports: Fraudsters purporting to be from research organisation’s affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organisation contact potential victims over email. They claim to be able to provide the recipient with a list of coronavirus-infected people in their area. In order to access this information, the victim needs to click on a link, which leads to a malicious website, or is asked to make a payment in bitcoin.”

Crime prevention officer for the Cork West Division Sergeant James O-Donovan has reminded people to be very careful when taking calls from unknown numbers or replying to unknown emails.

“Do not click on any links in emails if you are unsure of its origins,” he said.

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