ONLINE ALERT: Wicklow gardai ask public to contact them immediately following new scam warning
The spate of online and mobile phone scams during the Covid-19 pandemic shows no sign of slowing and has led An Garda Síochána to issue a community alert.
In recent weeks, Wicklow residents and businesses have been targeted in online scams by criminals who are using elaborate schemes in an effort to get their victims to part with their money, either known or unbeknownst to the mark.
The online fraudsters have used methods such as banking scams, revenue scams, lotto scams, prize wins, and account redirects to try and obtain money, personal details, or bank account details of their unsuspecting target.
A local Garda spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, over the last number of months email and text scams have begun to appear on a regular basis. They take many forms but their ultimate goal is to gain access to your bank account details and remove as much as they possibly can before being discovered.
“Alternatively, others encourage the victim to forward large sums of money by way of a deposit or down payment for some fictitious or nonexistent service,” the spokesperson said.
The most common scams operating at present are according to the gardai are:
Account redirect fraud
Where businesses are asked to change their current bank account details for a supplier and redirect all future payment to the fraudster’s account.
Banking and cashpoint online fraud
The victim is contacted by text or email and advised that their account has been compromised as a result of a recent ATM or point of sale transaction that was skimmed. They are advised that the account is being deactivated and in order to reactivate they need to cut their debit card and forward same to a given address.
The victim is then brought through their current bank details during which the fraudster obtains your email, phone number, account details and pin.
The fraudster then uses the details to remove as much as they can over the few days while the victim is waiting for the “new” fictitious card to appear.
Lotto or prize win
The victim contacted by email, text or post and advised that they have won a substantial amount in a foreign lotto but in order the handle the administration and release of the prize they need to lodge a sum of money to a particular account. This results in many people lodging thousands in an attempt to release the fictitious prize.
The advice coming from the Crime Prevention Office of the gardai is:
- Never click on unsolicited texts
- Never give away personal details over the phone or internet
- Remember the bank will never contact you seeking confirmation of account details
- Report any such approaches to your bank and local Gardai at the earliest opportunity