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'Sophisticated' scam involves people receiving phone calls from bogus department official

The Department of Social Protection never requests bank account details from its customers by phone or SMS.

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Updated Apr 8th 2021, 12:45 PM

PEOPLE ARE BEING warned about a “sophisticated” phone scam where members of the public are targeted by criminals purporting to be a named official from the Department of Social Protection.

The scam involves the fake official informing the person that their PPS number is compromised and they are asked to provide or verify their name, PPS number and in some cases, bank account details.

The Department of Social Protection never requests bank account or other financial institution account details from its customers by phone or SMS.

“This is a sophisticated scam. We urge our customers not to engage with these callers, not to return calls to these numbers and not to share any personal information with the callers,” the department said.

If a person is in any doubt, they should take the caller’s name and phone the Department’s helpline number 1890-800-024 (between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday).

The department also urged people who manage social welfare applications online to ensure that they are using official departmental websites.

Gardaí said they aware of the recent scam and are advising members of the public to be wary of such calls. 

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“A member of An Garda Siochana or a Department of Social Protection employee would never request bank account details or personal data in a cold call or text,” a garda spokesperson said.

If a member of the public believes they have received such a phone call or text, gardaí say they should contact their bank and the Department’s helpline number.

“They are also advised to take a note of the number and report the matter to their local garda station.” 

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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