Gardaí warn public to be wary of phone and email scams

Gardaí warn public to be wary of phone and email scams

People have been warned to be mindful of communications from seemingly reputable companies or state agencies asking them to click on a link via a text (smishing), an email (vishing) or a phone call (phishing).

GARDAÍ have warned that fraudulent attempts to obtain data and personal information are on the rise.

People have been warned to be mindful of communications from seemingly reputable companies or state agencies asking them to click on a link via a text (smishing), an email (vishing) or a phone call (phishing).

Over €640,000 worth of crimes involving these scams were recorded last year.

• 45 records of phishing/vishing/smishing frauds in 1st week February 2021, compared to 13 for same period in 2019/ 2020 

• 80% increase in reported crimes 2020/ 2019 

• Over €640,000 value of reported crimes in 2020 

• €53,000 stolen in one case alone This fraud targets everyone in society. Of the 45 cases in February 2021 

• 19 persons <50, 26 persons >50 

• Youngest 17, Oldest 88 

• 48% male/ 52% female An Garda Síochána wish to advice members of the public of smishing/vishing/phishing fraud. 

A Garda spokesperson said: "The most prevalent types are purporting to be from your bank, or other financial institution, where you are invited to click a link, which brings you to a cloned website, subsequently looking for your pin. They may also seek other personal data. Address, date of birth, PPS numbers etc… Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic has added a new dimension also, the business model of the fraudster changes with the social environment.

"The increase in online shopping and deliveries has also created greater opportunities for the fraudster."

The Advice from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) is: 

• Never click on a link of an unsolicited text 

• Never give away personal data like PIN number, card numbers, passwords, one time codes 

• Banks would never request a customer return a card to the bank in such circumstances 

• Be very wary of cold calls – just because the number looks Irish does not mean it is – fraudsters use VOIP numbers 

• If you are concerned hang up and ring your bank/service provider from a number advertised in the phone book or on your bill 

• If you are expecting a delivery and receive such a text, be very careful. Contact the delivery service Gardaí would advise people not to respond to such texts, to make screenshots of the texts received and delete them and to report it to the bank or relevant company and local Garda station.

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