September 21, 2020
News

Scam alert: Con-artists have Wicklow on their mailing lists

Several new online scams have surfaced in Wicklow as con-merchants try to take advantage of the Covid-19 crisis.

People have been offered face masks, gloves and hand sanitiser from dodgy or non-existent companies. One scam even offers a cure for the virus.

Another scam on the increase involves messages claiming to be from courier companies looking for account details.

Typically the intended victim will receive an email that claims they are due a package which couldn’t be delivered as “delivery address provided for this parcel is incomplete, and we require further details to make delivery”.

Victims are told they will have to pay for “scheduling a new delivery” and asked to to submit credit or debit card details.

The scamming email will be designed to look as if it comes from a legitimate courier company or even from An Post.

Another scam involves ‘Microsoft quarantine’.  It tells intended victims that several emails addressed to them are being withheld by  “Microsoft quarantine”, due to an “internal mail error”.

The victim is asked to “review” the emails. To do that, they have to log into their Microsoft account, which is where cyber criminals harvest their log-in details. Variants of this scam have been reported using Google accounts.

Esset (Enjoy Safer Technology) Ireland advises everyone to ignore such emails. Do not click on  the links or attachments they contain. Mark them as spam and warn your friends about them.

Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune said she was aware of increased scamming and it was important for consumers to be vigilant.

“The advice is to never give out your account details unless you are absolutely certain it is to a trusted source,” she said.

She pointed out that certain practices are prohibited in the EU, including deceiving consumers about the benefits or results expected from a product, claiming it can cure an illness or falsely claiming that it is available for a limited time only.

“Any claim made by a trader that their product can cure an illness needs to be backed up by evidence,” she said.

“Platform operators active in the EU who become aware of illegal activity taking place on their websites are obliged to intervene.”

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