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Gardaí and BOI warn consumers to be extra vigilant amid spate of parcel fraud texts

Gardaí are advising the public to never click on an unsolicited text or email.

Image: Shutterstock/leungchopan

BANK OF IRELAND is calling on customers to be extra vigilant against parcel fraud in the peak Christmas shopping and online delivery period. 

With the seasonal upsurge in parcel delivery, the bank has noted a high volume of calls from customers reporting fraudulent activity via ‘smishing’ texts where fraudsters send fake messages claiming to be from recognisable delivery companies. 

These smishing texts will ask a customer to follow to a link to a fraudulent payment site that will, for example, ask customers to pay a small customs charge or confirm details. 

The branding of these texts and the destination website will be of one of a household name delivery company like UPS, DPD or An Post. 

“The middle of the busiest shopping period of the year is an obvious time for fraudsters to target consumers,” Bank of Ireland’s head of fraud Edel McDermott said. 

“People may be distracted and have less available time to stop, think and check the details on a text and simply reply ‘automatically’ to a company they recognise,” McDermott said. 

She added there is also a good chance that consumers may have bought something online recently, so are “more likely to think the text is genuine and click one of the fraudulent links currently in circulation”. 

“The message here is simple – no matter how busy you are, always pause before replying or clicking a link and take the time to independently check whether a text is legitimate, even if it appears to be from a familiar brand or company,” she said. 

“And never disclose confidential banking details.” 

An Garda Síochána has also received a number of reports recently of a scam where consumers receive various messages purporting to be from An Post relating to a parcel awaiting delivery and advising people to click on the link for further details.

Gardaí are advising the public to never click on an unsolicited text or email, never give away personal data like your PIN, card numbers or passwords, and to not respond to such emails or texts. 

Instead, gardaí are asking the public to take a screenshot of the text/email, delete it, and report it to their local garda station. 

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Earlier this month, there were multiple reports from the public of a text message purporting to be from international parcel company UPS.

The text advises its victims that an unpaid customs fee is required before the parcel can be delivered. There is a link provided, however this is not from UPS and gardaí have advised not to interact with the messages. 

UPS have also issued a warning and advised customers to not engage with emails or other communications, cautioning that the links on the scams could contain malware that can corrupt the recipients’ device.

 With reporting by Niall O’Connor

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