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Ireland Gardai warn as number of scams on the rise in the run up to Christmas

14:20  18 november  2019
14:20  18 november  2019 Source:   dublinlive.ie

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a woman sitting at a table using a laptop computer © Getty Images

Gardai have issued a warning regarding a number of scams which are on the rise in the run up to Christmas.

Experts have said that fraudsters are becoming “more sophisticated and innovative” in conning customers into handing over their personal information.

Members of the public have been warned to look out for four types of scams: Frauds enabled via text messages, fake loans websites, advance fee fraud, and invoice redirect fraud.

Detective Chief Superintendent Patrick Lordan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) this morning said that gardai were concerned at the growing number of new scams that are arising.

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Here’s what to do if you come across these scams:

Bank Fraud Alert

Scammers will call, text, or email customers pretending to be from their bank asking them for personal details or security information.

The message will ask the individual to go to a website or call a specific number after which they’ll ask for personal information.

The fraudster aims to create fear that if the customer does not take immediate action their account will be compromised.

Gardai © Getty Gardai

What to do:

If you get an unsolicited text, email, or call, do not use the links or the number received in the communication.

Instead, look up the number of the bank independently and contact the bank to check the validity of the request and the security of the funds in your account.

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Online Loans Scam

Some fraudulent websites are unlawfully offering loans online to the public in an advance fee fraud.

As the Christmas period could create financial pressure, these websites will be looking to take advantage of financially vulnerable people.

After making an online application for a loan, the scammers will immediately contact the applicant and tell them that their loan application was successful. They will then be asked to pay a fee in advance of the loan being issued.

In the end there will be no loan issued and the customer will lose the fee they paid in advance.

What to do:

Check the register of authorised firms on the Central Bank of Ireland (Central Bank) website to determine if the website/company is registered as a Retail Credit Firm or Money Lender.

The register of authorised firms can be accessed at http://registers.centralbank.ie/.

If the website/company that is offering loans is not listed, DO NOT apply for a loan on that website or to that company.

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You can report the matter to the Central Bank: details contained at https://www.centralbank.ie/regulation/how-we-regulate/authorisation/unauthorised-firms

Online Fraud: Advance Fee Fraud/Theft

Customers have been asked to be careful while buying products online particularly when the item is considerably cheap or is being offered for sale via an unsolicited email, text, or phone call.

In many cases, scammers will take photographs of the item from other legitimate websites and will not deliver the product following payment.

If you’re selling a product it’s important to make sure the buyer is genuine before sending the product before payment is made.

The fraudster will frequently send an email or text purporting to be from a bank or a payment service such as Paypal confirming that the payment has been made, such communications will often be fake. The fake communication is designed to prompt the seller to dispatch the product before the payment actually hits their account.

What to do:

It’s best to use online retailers with good reputations such as high street shops or established online stores.

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Customers can also use the same credit card for all online purchases which would make it easy to cancel if something were to go wrong.

And most importantly, if the deal sounds like it is too good to be true, it probably is.

Invoice Redirect Fraud

In this type of scam, a fake invoice is sent to a target company asking for the payment of the product or service to be paid into an account controlled by the fraudster.

What to do:

If a supplier asks for payment to a new account, raise a red flag, contact the supplier by phone to confirm the change.

Do not reply to an email or use the contact information supplied by the scammer. And make sure to check all emails to ensure they’re coming from a genuine source. It is also important to make sure all relevant employees are made aware of this fraudulent scheme.

Detective Chief Superintendent Patrick Lordan, GNECB stated that "banks and other financial entities will never make unsolicited contact with individuals asking for personal details, account numbers, 4-digit pin number or passwords.”

He warned "that people receiving unsolicited communications looking for these personal details should not reply to text messages, emails or other communications. They should contact their bank independently to check on the validity of the communications they have received before taking any action."

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