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Bank of Ireland warns customers of 'alarming' fraud increase

The number of new phishing websites detected by the bank’s fraud prevention team has doubled since last month.

Image: Shutterstock/Tero Vesalainen

THERE HAS BEEN an almost three-fold increase in the number of Bank of Ireland customers targeted by fraudsters compared to this time last year.

BOI said the number of new phishing websites detected by its fraud prevention team has doubled since last month, with an “unprecedented increase in activity” over the past week. 

The bank said up to 20 new fraudulent sites are being detected each day. 

There has been an increase in smishing cases where scammers sent texts to customers appearing to come from BOI and direct to fake websites imitating the bank’s site.

The bank has advised people to apply extra caution around fake text messages circulating this week. 

BOI further advised customers to not click on links or respond to text messages that appear to be sent by the bank.

The bank said it would not send a text or an email to customers with a direct link to the login page of its online banking website to confirm banking details or ask to update bank details.

It would also not ask people to click a link in an email with an urgent warning about suspicious account activity, or ask people to transfer money out of their account to protect from fraud.

BOI said it would never ask people to inform them of any one-time passwords or codes customers receive from the bank by text. 

The bank’s head of group fraud, Edel McDermott, said there has been an “alarming increase” in fraudulent activity in 2021.

“May and June are showing a worrying upward trend in activity,” she said in a statement.

McDermott said fraudsters are trying to gain access to “clos to five times more money” than in this same period in 2020. 

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“Our teams are working hard to respond to these spikes and intercept fraud attempts but unfortunately, if customers click on links and provide personal banking details, recovery is not always possible.”

Anyone who receives a suspicious text is asked to take a screenshot of the message, email the screenshot to 365Security@boi.com and delete the text itself.

Anyone who thinks they may have given away their banking details to scammers should immediately contact Bank of Ireland’s freephone line on 1800 946 764.

Gardaí also advise to report these scams to your local garda station. 

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