Garda warning on increase in scam and fraud incidents

Gardaí are urging the public to spread the word of fraud prevention as people are falling victim to scams on a daily basis.

Gardaí have recently highlighted scams where people are pretending to be from An Garda Síochána, Social Welfare, the Attorney General’s Office, banks, delivery companies and other businesses.

Whilst the scammers may change their stories or methods, their goal is always the same – they want to access your sensitive information and get their hands on your money. Never give out your information be it over the phone, text or email.

Provisional figures show that this type of fraud has increased fivefold for the first 20 days of April 2021 compared to April 2019.

We need everyone to spread the word, people of all ages and all walks of life are falling victim to fraud on a daily basis. Anyone who rings, texts or emails you out of the blue and requests personal information such as bank details, they are not to be trusted. If the person who contacts you claims to be from someone you are 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.

Recent Scams:

· A phone call from a number similar to the Garda Confidential Line contacts a person stating they are investigating fraud activity or investigating a crime and require your details to progress the investigation. The phone call comes from 0-1800-666-111. The actual Garda Confidential Line number is 1800-666-111 and does not make outgoing calls.

· A person or automated message tells you there is a warrant out for your arrest/an outstanding fine/ that your DNA has been found in a crashed car or on drugs seized and to prevent further action you are asked to make a payment.

· Phone calls and texts from persons fraudulently advising they are a named official of the Department of Social Protection and being advised your PPS number has been compromised.

· Calls, emails or correspondence from a sports club, i.e golf club, which advises you of a change in their banking details or request a new method of payment.

Fraud incidents of note during April 2021:

Dublin – Injured party lost over €20,000 after being told they were being investigated for money laundering and was required to lodge money into an account.

Galway – Injured party lost over €20,000 after being told their PPS number was found following a raid at a house.

Cork – Injured party at a loss of near €9,000 after being informed their DNA was found at a crime scene. They were required to send their details on the assist the investigation

Waterford –
Injured party lost near €5,000 after being told their PPS number had been tracked back to them and was linked to drugs and money laundering. They were asked to download an app resulting in the loss.

Donegal – Injured party lost €750 after being contacted via social media by an unknown person informing them they have won a prize of €15,000 but to claim the prize they needed to use an amazon card.

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.”

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