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Department of Social Protection and An Post issue warnings over scam text messages

Health officials are warning anyone who thinks they’ve been affected to contact their bank.

LAST UPDATE | 28 Aug 2020

THE PUBLIC ARE being warned to take care against “sophisticated” phishing scams that sees fraudsters contact people pretending to be from the Department of Social Protection. 

Similarly, An Post has said a new scam where customers receive a text purporting to be from the company is one of many where fraudsters aim to cause “mischief and extract funds from members of the public”.

The Department of Social Protection has said that officials are aware of a scam that sees text messages sent out from an unknown number and which pretends to be from the government. 

The messages, like many phishing scams, contain web links that take people to fake versions of the Department of Social Protection website. 

After clicking on the link, people are brought to sites that look similar to MyWelfare or MyGovID pages. 

The fraudsters then ask people to provide their name, PPS number and bank account details. 

A spokesperson for the department said that it “urges customers and the public to be extra vigilant”. 

“Please do not click on or reply to links which appear suspicious,” the spokesperson said.

“The Department of Social Protection wishes to make it absolutely clear that we never request Bank account or other financial institution account details from our customers by SMS or on social media. Neither do we clarify or check this information over the phone.”

The department is now trying to remove these fake sites as “quickly as possible”.

It’s asking anyone to believes that they handed over information based on a fake text message to contact their bank immediately. 

An Post, meanwhile, has issued a warning on foot of a scam where people are sent a text message about an undelivered package and asked to pay for outstanding shipping costs.

If the person clicks through they are asked to provide personal details, including their financial information. 

An Post public affairs manager Angus Laverty said: “This latest scam attempt is one of many out there designed to cause mischief and extract funds from members of the public.

“There have been a raft of such scams and phishing attempts on many of our leading firms and financial institutions in recent months. We have been successful in having many of them taken down but they keep coming.

We have issued regular warnings to customers to be scam aware and are constantly upgrading our security and IT protocols to make life more difficult for the scammers.

With reporting from Sean Murray

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