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Bank of Ireland to conduct review after customers lose thousands of euro in text scam

Fraudsters have targeted people via texts that appear to be from the bank.

File photo of Bank of Ireland on O'Connell Street in Dublin.
File photo of Bank of Ireland on O'Connell Street in Dublin.
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

BANK OF IRELAND is set to conduct a review after several customers reported being the victims of a smishing (SMS phishing) scam.

Some customers have lost thousands of euro after inadvertently giving banking information to fraudsters.

In recent days, a number of customers have spoken to Joe Duffy on RTÉ’s Liveline about the issue – one man said he lost €10,825 as a result of the scam.

Separately, another customer told TheJournal.ie he was conned out of over €5,000.

Speaking on Liveline today, customer Marian Lowe said she lost €3,000 in April after receiving two text messages purporting to be from Bank of Ireland.

She was told that €3,000 was about to be transferred from her account, a transaction she had not authorised, and clicked on the link in a bid to stop the money from being taken, not realising it was a scam.

Lowe said Bank of Ireland told her she was liable for the money as she had shared her information with a third party.

She said the texts were part of a thread that also included genuine correspondence from the bank.

As part of the scam, some customers have been sent texts incorrectly informing them that their bank card has been blocked and they should click on the link for more information and to order a replacement card.

Recovering funds

When asked for comment on the situation by TheJournal.ie, a spokesperson for Bank of Ireland said the company takes the issue of smishing “very seriously” and engages “proactively with law enforcement nationally and internationally”.

In approximately three in four cases, the bank’s fraud team “recovers all or part of the stolen funds and the customer can be reimbursed”.

“Fraudsters send text messages in bulk randomly to mobile phones. They don’t have prior knowledge that particular people are customers of a particular bank. They simply rely on the fact that some people may click on a link and then provide their confidential banking details,” the spokesperson said.

They added that the process where a fraudster can drop a text into a genuine thread of text messages from any company is “a feature of mobile phone technology and is not in any way linked to the bank”.

“This is a common tactic used by fraudsters against the customers of banks and many other service providers. It is extremely important that customers don’t divulge their personal login details, confidential account details or One Time Passcodes, to anyone.”

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Review 

The spokesperson said Bank of Ireland “will never text, send emails or call a customer looking for these details”, and asked people to report suspicious activity via the 24/7 freephone line 1800 946 764.

“We understand the distress caused to customers who are tricked into sharing their confidential personal banking details by criminals. We welcome customer feedback and we are therefore going to conduct an additional review of all impacted cases in the recent smishing attack.

“If any customer would like to bring any further information to us in relation to their case we’d be happy to discuss it with them, and we will also make contact with all customers following the review,” the spokesperson added.

Screenshot 2020-08-06 at 15.31.34

A number of AIB customers have reported concerns about a similar smishing scam which also asks people to click on a link and provide information.

A spokesperson for AIB said the above text message is not genuine, encouraging anyone who receives it to forward it to alert@aib.ie and delete the message straight away. “Please do not click on any links and always be vigilant,” they added.

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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