SCAM ALERT: Wicklow residents urged to be wary of con artists trying to profit off Covid-19 fears
Wicklow residents are being urged to watch out for unscrupulous people looking to exploit the public’s fears concerning coronavirus for their own economic gain
An Garda Síochána this evening issued an alert making the public aware about fraudsters exploiting the spread of Covid-19 Coronavirus to carry out scams either online or in person.
The scams, according to the gardai include Phishing, Social Engineering Scams and Fraudulent Selling/Trading.
In terms of Phishing/ Smishing/ Vishing, people and companies are being told to be careful with unsolicited email, text, WhatsApp message or telephone call they may receive, claiming to be from a legitimate organisation.
A Garda spokesperson said: “These communications will contain an attachment containing vital information regarding the Covid-19 virus and prompting the receiver to open the attachment. Never open attachments in unsolicited emails.”
In regards Social Engineering Scams, criminals try to exploit the charitable nature of people via social media, or in person, asking for donations to so called charitable causes.
Gardai say: “People should be wary of unsolicited requests and only ever donate to legitimate, recognised charities. If they encounter a person claiming to be from a charity, look to see their ID and collection permit. If in doubt do not contribute and contact Gardaí.”
People are also being urged to watch out for Fraudulent Selling, where fraudsters are offering in demand medical supplies or everyday household goods that may be in short supply. The fraudsters will set up site to make the look legitimate but are in fact cloned sites, often looking for payment into bank accounts or looking for deposits. If the person actually receives any goods for the transaction, they are counterfeit.
The Garda Spokesperson says: “Only purchase from legitimate vendors. Ensure you are on the legitimate sites and not cloned ones. Do your research, open up websites by searching online yourself rather than following links sent you in emails or messages.”