Warning for Cork residents with phone scammers targeting financial information

Warning for Cork residents with phone scammers targeting financial information

CORK people have been warned to look out for a US-based phone scam after a city councillor was targeted.

Thomas Gould (SF) said he has received several reports from constituents about an American prefixed number starting with 00 1646 that is dialling people in the city and trying to extract bank details from then.

The latest scam centres around a Wall Street survey and features callers with American accents who ask for callers for their financial details.

Mr Gould said Government legislation is needed to tackle the increase in these scams.

“I got two phone calls on Tuesday. I tried to engage with them and the lady told me she was from Wall Street and she was looking to carry out a survey. She was very convincing.

“I spoke to the Gardaí about it and this is unbelievably widespread. The amount of people that have told me they are getting suspicious phone calls is crazy.

“If they think a person will engage with them at all, they will keep applying pressure and there are people afraid to answer phone calls, especially elderly people.

“Phone companies should have an obligation that people are not harassed and the Government have an obligation to bring in legislation that these calls should be outlawed and be a criminal offence,” he added.

It’s the second such scam that has been reported in recent weeks with a Dublin prefixed number purporting to be the Revenue Commissioner’s office offering tax refunds of up to €800 also targeting people.

Gardaí are currently restricted in investigating phone scams due to a High Court ruling that found that allowing data from mobile phones to be retained and accessed breaches EU law and the European Convention on Human rights because it is not reviewed by a court or independent authority before it is accessed.

This has raised questions over what data Gardaí can use and access while undertaking criminal investigations.

The Government has a data retention bill at an advanced stage and it is expected to be published later this year.

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