Local gardaí are appealing to the public to be on the lookout for fraud and deception, following an increase in various scams in the area.
Four out of five people have been targetted by some form of scam in the past year, according to new research by AIB, with fraudsters tackling people via text, calls or email.
Superintendent Seamus Boyle of Granard Garda Station has asked that the public be vigilant when it comes to protecting their personal details.
“I have seen an increase in this type of crime in the Granard District and I am sure it is replicated across the other districts,” said Supt Boyle.
Credit card details have been used to shop online, stolen cards have been used to tap for purchases under €30 and ‘card not present’ transactions are also becoming more common.
Particular care should be taken when shopping online, Supt Boyle urged, especially with websites such as DoneDeal or Facebook where payment is lodged before receiving or viewing goods.
Investments and lodgements online to fake accounts have also become more and more common.
There are a number of phishing scams doing the rounds where emails, calls and texts from unsolicited sites seek bank details. The simple advice, according to Supt Boyle is to never respond.
“Don’t click on links looking for your personal data and passwords. Once details are got, they can withdraw from your account,” he said.
“Unsolicited calls to invest are looking for your details again and asking to lodge money, but this is a scam.
“Beware of texts purporting to be from a banking institution. These don’t have to be from foreign numbers. Skype numbers can be rented and will come up as an Irish number.”
Banking institutions will often have a crime prevention section on their website, explaining how to keep your account safe from scams.
“Every Scam is the same, with just a different story,” said Supt Boyle.
“There's generally an urgency to get you to act fast without thinking. (They might say you ) owe revenue, are due a refund, etc, or tell you your account is compromised and they need your PPS Number and your personal details.
“They now can set up false accounts and false identities in your name, get a driving licence and travel documents or click on links to get your account details and passwords.”
If you feel you’re a victim of a scame or fraud, money can usually be recalled within 24 hours, Supt Boyle added, “so no need to panic”.
“Contact the bank fraud line and explain. If you have gone a certain distance, stop and contact your bank. The bank will watch for suspicious transactions. And if you feel your card is compromised change the log in details,” Supt Boyle advised.
Phishing is when a fraudster sends a text message to say there’s a problem with your bank account and asks you to call a phone number or click a link. If you do so, fraudsters will try to trick you into giving away your personal and security information.
Other messages may be from fraudsters saying that personal information about you has been posted on the internet and ask you to visit a particular website.
Vishing is a type of phishing scam that happens on the phone. The word vishing is a combination of ‘voice’ and ‘phishing’.
These are unsolicited phone calls from fraudsters which encourage you to give out your personal details, such as your card, PIN, Mobile Banking App activation passcodes or card reader codes.
The fraudsters can pretend to be your bank, the police, or any other official company.
Fraudsters will call mobile phones or landlines pretending to be from your bank in order to get your personal information or ask you to move money from your personal bank account.
They may have some of your personal information, such as name, address, or phone number, to make them seem genuine.
These calls will often seem urgent to get you to act as quickly as possible, giving you minimal time to think about whether the call is fraudulent.
Sometimes you may get a ‘warm up’ call where no information is discussed. This is to set the scene for a later call where you may be asked for information.