A person in Galway who lost €20,000 when they were told their PPS number was found at a house raided by Gardaí, and another who lost €1,000 after a text message claiming to be from his bank are some of the victims of fraud in Galway this month.
Gardaí have said that there has been an alarming increase in fraud incidents where scammers try to gain your personal information by deception.
Provisional figures show a fivefold increase in crimes of this type in the first 20 days of April this year, compared with April 2019.
There were 163 incidents of smishing/vishing/phishing fraud in Ireland in the first 20 days of this month, compared with 29 in the same period in 2019, and 57 last year.
Recently highlighted scams involved fraudsters posing as authorities such as An Garda Síochána, Social Welfare, the Attorney General’s Office, banks, delivery companies and other businesses.
With such and alarming increase in this kind of crime, Gardaí are pushing the message that if rings, texts or emails you out of the blue and requests personal information such as bank details, they are not to be trusted.
If they claim to be associated with carry out your own enquiries to find out if it’s genuine – but do not clink any links they send you or call the number they contact you from or that is stated in their email.
The Galway victim who lost €1,000 as a result of fraudulent test was just one of eight fraud incidents which happened in a single day this month, on April 22.
One person in Limerick got an email which claimed to be from his bank and seeking his details, resulting in a €7,000 loss. While one person in Dublin lost €6,000 after receiving a scam text.
Detective Superintendent Michael Cryan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said “The golden rule is do not engage with people who contact you out of the blue looking for your personal information – plain and simple.
“Do not engage, do not call them back, do not click links, do not download apps, do not arrange to meet them, and do not give them your hard earned money. Never, ever give away personal data like pins, codes, passwords, PPS numbers or DOBs.”
“If the person says they are form someone you do business with, or say they are from a club you are a member of, and they are seeking payment, check to ensure that this is coming from a legitimate source.”
“Independently verify this information. Ring your local Garda station and report any attempted fraud,” Detective Superintendent Cryan said.