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Gardaí see fraud using text, email and phone calls treble in last twelve months

Detectives have issued a warning for people to be aware of the con-artists vishing, smishing or phishing tactics.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

GARDAÍ HAVE WARNED that the incidence of email, text or phone call frauds have trebled in the last twelve months. 

Detectives from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) have issued a warning for people to be aware of the con-artists vishing, smishing or phishing tactics. 

The GNECB have revealed that fraud has increased by 111% while the technological adept fraudsters have increased vishing by 370%.

“The most prevalent frauds are purporting to be from your bank, or other financial institution, where you are invited to click a link which brings you to a cloned website, subsequently looking for your PIN.

“They may also seek other personal data such as address, date of birth, PPS numbers etc. These are just a few of the online scams cybercriminals use to steal your private data (personal or financial information),” a spokesperson said. 

The detectives have advised people to never give away personal data such as bank account details, PIN numbers, credit card numbers, passwords, one time codes, PPS numbers and Eircodes.

They also said that anyone who is a victim of fraud should change passwords immediately and report it to gardaí.

In one recent case in Killarney, Co Kerry local detectives were alerted to a fake bank text alert scam.

In the fraud the victim had €10,000 removed from their account. The fraud was reported quickly and garda investigators working with the Bank were able to recover the cash.

An investigation began and the detectives succeeded in identifying a suspect bank account based in Co. Meath. The holder of that bank account was convicted before Trim Circuit Court last month.

“If you have been a victim of this type of fraud – act quickly, it is vital to change your passwords / PIN codes, report the matter to your bank seeking a recall and report the matter to An Garda Síochána,” the spokesperson added. 

Gardaí have warned people to be weary of “cold calls” and told people to always ask for the caller’s name and phone number. Any suspicion that the call is fake and the call taker should hang up immediately, the guards have said. 

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The GNECB said that the fraudsters are using cloned fake Irish numbers to further trick victims have found it in a google search.

The gardaí have also advised to never download apps when advised to do so by a caller or email or text. 

In email frauds the gardaí have said to be cautious of emails that appear official and to check they are legitimate before opening. 

They have said to hover over any hyperlinks and this will show where it leads to – there is also a warning not to store passwords on browsers. They have advised to delete any suspicious emails, block the sender and don’t forward the email to anyone else.

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