Warning issued after ‘unprecedented spike’ in scam messages

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Bank of Ireland has issued a warning to the public advising extra caution around scam text messages which are being sent this week.

There has been an alarming spike in ‘smishing’ – where scammers send fake text messages which appear to come from Bank of Ireland and direct customers to fake websites which look like Bank of Ireland websites.

Since last month, the number of new websites found by Bank of Ireland’s Fraud Prevention team has doubled, with an unprecedented increase in activity in the last week and up to 20 new fraudulent sites appearing per day.

Bank of Ireland have advised customers not to click on links or to respond to SMS text messages, which are designed to appear as if sent by the bank and look like originating from a genuine phone number.

Edel McDermott, Head of Group Fraud, Bank of Ireland said that we are seeing an alarming increase in the level of fraudulent activity this year.

“May and June are showing a worrying upward trend in activity.  To put this in context, versus the same time last year, we have seen an almost three-fold increase in the number of customers being targeted by fraudsters,” said Edel McDermott.

“The potential financial impact is even more stark, with fraudsters attempting to defraud close to five times more money than in the same period in 2020.

“Our teams are working hard to respond to these spikes and intercept fraud attempts but unfortunately, if customers click on links and provide personal banking details, recovery is not always possible.”

Bank of Ireland also reminded people that they will never send messages with links to a website that asks you for your online banking login details.

If you get a suspicious text please email a screenshot of the text to 365Security@boi.com and then delete the text.

Anyone who thinks they may have given away any of their banking details are urged to Bank of Ireland’s 24/7 Freephone line 1800 946 764 immediately.