An Garda Siochána in association with FraudSMART,a fraud awareness initiative led by the Banking & Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI), are advising consumers to be alert to a phone scam, where fraudsters call claiming to be from utility service companies and alleging broadband service issues.
Some scam callers offer to fix the supposed broadband problems of computers and they often attempt to trick people into revealing bank/card details, so they can access their online banking and make fraudulent payments
Other scam artists offer to remotely take control of the ‘affected’ computer, so they can 'fix' the problem. This only grants them unlimited access to all of the information stored on said computer. Gardaí have warned the public that some calls may even seem genuine.
Detective Superintendent Gerard Walsh of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau gave the following advice "If you have received a suspicious call, hang up and phone the company the person is purporting to be from directly yourself.”
“Do not use a number given to you by the caller and make sure you hear a dial tone before making the call. If you are concerned that you may have fallen victim to a scam contact your local Garda Station and also your bank.”
Niamh Davenport, who leads the BPFI FraudSMART programme, advised the public to be wary of unexpected calls and texts.
"Always be wary of any unexpected calls or texts especially those asking for personal details or payments. Never give your financial or personal information in order to release money, refund fees, or access to your computer.” she said.
“Fraudsters are very convincing but don’t be afraid to take the time to make the relevant checks. The caller will try to rush you or make you feel foolish and negligent if you don’t follow their instructions, but this is all designed to panic you into doing something you wouldn’t otherwise do.”
FraudSMART Advice on Scams:
• Never give out personal information until you have checked that the caller is a genuine representative of the organisation they claim to be from. Advise the caller you will call them back once you have checked their identity. You can do this by:
• Looking up the organisation’s phone number using a phone book or website and calling the number yourself directly. Make sure you hear a dial tone before you dial. Do not use a number the caller has given to you as this could be a fake number.
• Don’t assume you can trust caller ID. Fraudsters can spoof a number, so it looks like they are calling from a particular company or bank, even when they are not.
• Remember it takes two people to terminate a landline phone call, you can use a different phone line to independently check the caller’s identity or at least make sure you hear a dial tone before you call anyone.
• Fraudsters may have basic information about you in their possession (e.g. name, address etc), do not assume the caller is genuine because they have this information. They source this information from publicly available information e.g. social media, phone books, websites
• Don’t allow yourself to be rushed. Take your time and do the relevant checks.