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Saturday 9 December 2023 Dublin: 11°C

People reminded to hang up scam calls and not engage as reports continue

Gardaí and the Department of Social Protection have issued warnings about scam calls.

THE DEPARTMENT OF Social Protection has reminded the public to stay alert to scam calls, while a cyber security expert has said people shouldn’t be “embarrassed” if they fall victim and to report it straight away. 

Earlier this week, the Department of Social Protection and gardaí issued warnings to people about continued scam calls. The calls sometimes contain automated messages.

The scam calls claim that the recipient’s PPS number has been compromised or that gardaí believe their details have been involved in or linked to a crime. 

Paul Delahunty, information security officer at cyber security company Stryve, said these calls can “rattle you a bit if you’re not expecting it”.

“Mobile numbers are kind of out there,” Delahunty told The Journal.

“A lot of the time this can be as a result of breaches. A lot of numbers are also sold on the dark web and they have certain access and other details that might be sold with them.”

He said additional information released alongside phone numbers and addresses can “totally disarm the target” and make them believe they are a legitimate source.

He reiterated the advice to hang up any suspicious calls straight away and to not “press any buttons – the only button you press is the hang up button”. 

He advised to block the number and not engage with the call – whether it’s a person on the other end or an automated message. 

“If it’s something genuine – if it was Revenue that wanted to be in touch with you – they won’t contact you in that way,” he said. 

“Even if they did, the correct way to respond is to hang up and respond through the contact details on a website or information centre.” 

He said if a caller is pertaining to be from a bank, for example, people should not “just take their word for it” and instead hang up and resort to numbers on the back of a debit or credit card, or the numbers listed on trusted websites.

He said starting these calls in a “position of zero trust and working backwards from there” means a person would be “hard done getting fooled” by a scam caller.

However, he said there is no shame in falling victim to a scam call. 

“If you fall victim to any of these, report it straight away. Don’t be embarrassed or try to hide it,” Delahunty said. 

The reason these scams go around is because they work. You’re not the first one, you’re not stupid, they get people all the time. That’s why they do it.

Gardaí said people should contact their financial institutions and report to their local garda station if they may have fallen victim to a scam.

Delahunty also highlighted that scam calls can sometimes appear to come from legitimate numbers.

Gardaí said these calls have involved garda station phone numbers in Wexford, Dublin and Donegal. The force has received reports of scam calls from across the country. 

Gardaí said: 

  • Hang up the call
  • Don’t engage with the call
  • Don’t return the call
  • Don’t follow the automated instructions,
  • Don’t transfer any money or disclose any personal or financial information

The Department of Social Protection reminded the public that it will never ask for bank details over the phone or seek personal information through text. 

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