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Gardaí issue widespread warning on a number of scams operating in run up to Christmas

Multiple scams are doing the rounds.

Image: Shutterstock/fizkes

GARDAÍ HAVE ISSUED a warning ahead of the busy Christmas period about a number of scams currently targeting Irish consumers.

Consumers have been urged by officers “to be extremely cautious around text and online loan scams which they say are on the rise”.

Detective Chief Superintendent Patrick Lordan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) this morning said that gardaí were concerned at the growing number of new scams that are arising and the particular targeting of consumers as Christmas approaches.

Lordan warned the public to watch out for the following scams: 

Bank Fraud Alert

This is where consumers are sent a text message, email or telephone call appearing to be from their bank asking them to for personal details or security information designed to get unlawful access to bank accounts. The text, email or telephone call will instruct you to go to a website or make a phone call to a specified number, after which personal information will be sought.

People are being urged to check directly with their bank if they receive messages such as these. 

Online Loan Scam

Gardaí have warned consumers to be particularly careful with loans in the run up to the festive period.

These unlawful websites will be looking to take advantage of financially vulnerable people.

The websites offer loans online. Within minutes of making an online application for a loan, the applicant will be immediately contacted and will be informed that their loan application is successful. They will then be asked to pay a fee in advance of the loan being issued. This is a scam. No loan will be issued and the customer loses the fee they have paid in advance.

Invoice Re-Direct Fraud

This is a method of targeting a company by creating a fake invoice or identifying a genuine invoice in the name of a supplier with whom the target company is doing business.

The invoice is sent to the target company asking for the payment for the product or service to be paid into an account controlled by the fraudster. This is causing considerable losses to business throughout the country.

Gardaí advised that if a supplier asks for payment to a new account, a red flag should be raised. Contact the supplier by telephone to check if the requested change of account is correct. Do not reply to an email or use the contact information supplied in the email. Check all emails carefully, to ensure it is coming from a genuine source. Make all relevant employees aware of this fraud type.

Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BFFI) chief executive, Brian Hayes, said: “Fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated and innovative in their efforts to lure consumers to part with personal information. It’s crucial that consumers are aware of the scams that are in circulation and the advice to be followed in order to protect their finances and their bank accounts.

“FraudSMART, the BPFI’s fraud awareness initiative, is working with the Gardaí to make consumers aware of what’s happening at the moment and we’re advising them to visit our FraudSMART website www.fraudsmart.ie which provides advice on the key steps to proactively keep customers bank accounts and money safe”.

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