Text and email fraud up 80pc, with one victim losing €53k
Sophisticated frauds using texts, emails and phone calls have increased 80pc in the last year, with one unsuspecting victim losing €53,000.
The smishing (by text), vishing (by email) and phishing (by phone) crimes resulted in more than €640,000 being stolen, mainly from people’s bank accounts after they believed the communications were from their banks and they handed over personal details such as PIN codes.
As part of Fraud Awareness Week Gardai are today warning people to be on the lookout for such scams, saying they can target anyone in society.
The scams are mainly in the form of a text, email or call allegedly from your bank telling you there is a problem with your account and asking for personal details, or for you to click on a link which brings you to a cloned website where you insert those details.
This information then gives the scammers access to your bank account.
There were 45 records of phishing/vishing/smishing frauds in the first week of February this year compared to 13 for same period in 2019 and 2020
Of the 45 cases in February this year 19 targeted people were aged under 50 and 26 were over 50.
The youngest victim was just 17 while the oldest was 88. The split between male and female is roughly half and half.
Brexit and the Covid 19 pandemic has added a new dimension also because the business model of the fraudster changes with the social environment, and the increase in online shopping and deliveries has also create greater opportunities for scammers.
The Advice from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) is to never click on a link of an unsolicited text, and never give away personal data like PIN number, card numbers, passwords, one time codes.
Gardai advise people to be very wary of cold calls, and say that just because the number looks Irish does not mean it is, because fraudsters can use numbers from abroad but make them appear to be local to the victim.
“If you are concerned, hang up and ring your bank or service provider from a number advertised in the phone book or on your bill,” said a garda spokesperson.
“And if you are expecting a delivery and receive such a text, be very careful. Contact the delivery service directly,” they added.