SUMS of up to €10,000 have been scammed from Corkonians duped by phone callers claiming to be from State agencies including gardaí and the Department of Social Protection.
That is according to gardaí in Cork who are urging people not to engage with callers claiming to be from State agencies.
In recent weeks, there have been several reports of such calls made to gardaí, with some people admitting that they were duped out of thousands of euro during such calls.
A garda spokesperson said that there have been a number of cases where immigrants have lost money through the scam, because of language barriers.
In one case reported to gardaí in recent weeks, a Filipino living in Cork lost almost €9,000 after answering a call claiming to be from gardaí, telling her that her DNA and documents connected to her had been discovered in a car at a crime scene in Dublin.
In another, a woman lost €900 after being duped into believing she had received a call from the Attorney General’s office.
Some other scams recently carried out include:
· A phone call from a number similar to the Garda Confidential Line contacts a person stating they are investigating fraud activity or investigating a crime and require your details to progress the investigation. The phone call comes from 0-1800-666-111. The actual Garda Confidential Line number is 1800-666-111 and does not make outgoing calls.
· A person or automated message tells you there is a warrant out for your arrest/an outstanding fine/ that your DNA has been found in a crashed car or on drugs seized and to prevent further action you are asked to make a payment.
· Phone calls and texts from persons fraudulently advising they are a named official of the Department of Social Protection and being advised your PPS number has been compromised.
· Calls, emails or correspondence from a sports club, i.e golf club, which advises you of a change in their banking details or request a new method of payment.
The Department of Social Protection is warning people that its staff will never ask someone for their bank details in a phone call and will never seek personal information by text message.
The Department urges people not to engage with callers seeking such information who claim to be from the Department of Social Protection and to contact gardaí.
Gardaí issued the following advice:
• If it is too good to be true, it probably is
• Do your own research and be wary of wild claims
• Always seek independent financial and legal advice before making any investments
• Check the various registers on the Central Bank of Ireland’s website
• Use regulated investment firms where possible (Virtual assets are not currently regulated in Ireland)
• Do not respond to unsolicited approaches or cold-calls
• Don’t click on links for websites that you don’t know
• Never disclose your bank account passwords or codes
• Never allow anyone remote access to your computer