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Thursday 28 September 2023 Dublin: 15°C
Alamy Stock Photo RTÉ presenter Sarah McInerney issued a warning on text message scams on RTÉ's Drivetime today.
# Push Payment Scams
RTÉ's Sarah McInerney issues warning over text scams after falling victim to one herself
The radio presenter that she was doing multiple things at once, which distracted her.

RTÉ PRESENTER SARAH McInerney issued a warning over text message scams on RTÉ Radio One’s Drivetime today after falling victim to one herself.

McInerney told listeners that she fell victim to a scam text message which convinced her she had an an issue with her toll payment account.

The radio presenter that she was doing multiple things at once, which distracted her from just how much information she was inputting into the fraudulent website. 

McInerney said on Drivetime this evening: “I clicked on this link for e-flow, saying that I hadn’t filled out the terms and conditions to allow my e-flow account to continue and sort-of absent mindlessly put information.

“I then realised I put in my registration number for my bank and my personal access code – and when I clicked send on the personal access code I realised ‘What am I doing?’.”

McInerney said she was panicked as it was too late in the evening to call her bank and that the messaging for who to call and what to do if you fall victim to the fraud was not clear.

Speaking to Niamh Davenport, Head of Financial Crime of the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI), she too agreed the messaging is not clear enough about what to do if you have been scammed through a false text message.

Davenport said: “I think it’s something [BPFI] should probably take back to the banks to make sure that everyone is clear as to what number to use.”

Davenport advised listeners that the phone number on the back of all bank cards is a 24/7 emergency line and it’s recommended to call that number if you have fallen victim to an online scam.

The bank advised McInerney to purposefully get the code into her online banking incorrect six separate times as to freeze it and lock all users out of the account, however she said within that short timeframe, the fraudster had added another verified mobile device to her account and attempted to make multiple unsuccessful bank transfers.

“With any type of scam, one of the key things I always said is, time is of the essence to report it to your bank as quickly as possible,” Davenport said.

Yesterday, Davenport appeared before the finance committee and called for a “whole of system response” to tackle scam text messages and emails, known as authorised push payment fraud.

Davenport said that a shared fraud database scheme, similar to schemes across Europe and the UK, would support both the Irish financial sector and gardaí and added that the BPFI have worked to develop one.

Additionally, the BPFI said they found that roughly 80% of all scams in the United Kingdom are known to originate through online advertising.

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