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Average text scam costs victims €1,700 as new campaign warns of bank switch con

The average invoice fraud cost Irish businesses €14k.

Image: Shutterstock

THE AVERAGE TEXT scam cost victims €1,700 in the second half of this year, new figures have revealed. 

The stats, released by the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) and its FraudSMART campaign, show that victims of text message scams or ‘smishing’ were tricked out of an average of €1,700, while over the same period, businesses were conned out of an average of €14,000 due to invoice fraud.

Experts now believe that Irish customers are in a precarious position as tens of thousands of people change their bank accounts due to Ulster Bank and KBC removing themselves from the Irish market later this year. 

FraudSMART said consumers and businesses should “be on high alert for impersonation type scams”.

Speaking on the latest fraud trends, Niamh Davenport, FraudSMART spokesperson said: “FraudSMART members have seen text message scams almost double in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year with consumers conned out of an average of €1,700 per scam.

Businesses meanwhile are suffering average losses of €14,000 due to invoice fraud, however this can increase to €50k in some cases.

“Fraudsters are experts at taking advantage of changing situations to commit fraud and with two retail banks leaving the Irish market and hundreds of thousands of personal and businesses customers moving bank accounts FraudSMART members are anticipating we may see a rise in impersonation fraud attempts which will be based around the process of verifying and updating bank account details.”

For personal customers, the BPFI said it expects fraudsters will use this account transition period to obtain personal information “through the guise of a problem with a customer’s new account set-up or switch”.

“We are warning consumers to be on the lookout for text messages that flag fraud on your bank account or impending cancellation of your salary, standing orders, or direct debits to utilities and which then go on to ask for personal information or account details,” Davenport added. 

Here are a few tips from the experts on how to avoid being scammed this year: 

  • Do not respond to messages with personal information.
  • Do not click on links or follow directions from somebody on a call without verifying first.
  • A bank will never text/email/phone looking for personal information
  • Contact your bank/service provider/employer provider directly.
  • Never use contact details from a text message, always independently verify.
  • Always double check before clicking links or attachments in random or unexpected emails or texts and never give away security details such as PINs or passwords to anyone.

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