Gardai warn of the 6 most common frauds in circulation

An Garda Siochana has advised the public to be aware of these 6 common frauds that are currently in circulation:

1. Payment Card Fraud:
This type of fraud involves the use of stolen or counterfeit payment cards to make direct purchases or cash withdrawals. It also includes the use of stolen card data to buy items over the phone or via the internet.

Crime Prevention Advice

• Keep your card in a safe place at all times. Do not leave it lying around. Report it to your bank immediately if it is lost or stolen.

• Keep your PIN safe. Do Not write it down, Do Not keep it with your card and Do Not give it to anyone.

• If you are expecting a card or a PIN in the post and it does not arrive, notify your card issuer immediately.

• Sign any new cards as soon as they arrive from your bank or card issuer. Ensure that you cut up the old cards as soon as the new ones become valid.

• Cover your PIN when making in-store purchases or using an ATM.

• Keep your card in sight when paying for goods or services.

2. Invoice Redirection Fraud:
This type of fraud involves criminals contacting businesses or sellers usually by email, but sometimes by phone or other means of communication. The criminal pretends to be a supplier of goods or services that you already do business with and requests that the bank account details recorded for the legitimate supplier are changed on your financial system. The next time an invoice arrives from the legitimate supplier the payment is sent to an account controlled by the criminal instead of the supplier. This results in significant financial loss which may not be identified until a reminder email is received from the legitimate supplier. In such cases not only does the business lose money but they still have an outstanding invoice to pay to the legitimate supplier.

Crime Prevention Advice

• Ensure that all staff are aware of this type of fraud and that all requests to change bank account details are brought to the attention of a supervisor for consideration.

• Always make a phone call or direct contact with a known contact at the suppliers that has requested the change of account details to verify whether the request is correct.

• Ensure the contact is made independently and never respond directly by using the contact details contained in the email or provided by the sender as you may be contacting the fraudster.

3. CEO Fraud:
This type of fraud is similar to Invoice Redirection Fraud however in this case junior employees in the finance department of a company receive an email from a criminal purporting to be the Chief Executive Officer stating that an important deal or some other urgent matter is pending and that a substantial payment needs to be processed immediately. Overawed by the involvement of the CEO, and the tone of the email which generally insists on secrecy, the employee acts on the email instruction and transfers a substantial sum of money to the specified bank to close the deal. It subsequently transpires when the employee plucks up the courage to tell someone else, that the CEO is oblivious to the transaction and that the email provided was false. By the time the fraud is detected the money is often gone.

Crime Prevention Advice

• Training is a key element to avoiding this type of fraud by educating both CEO’s, senior executives and staff about emails or communications of this nature.

• Staff should be empowered to question requests of this nature.

• Companies should have very clear policies and procedures in place, known to all employees for verifying payment transfers or high level requests from senior management.

• The use of additional verification processes should be utilised by employees as a matter of course. A phone call to the CEO to assist in confirming the transaction or a visual communication should be mandatory.

4. Email Fraud otherwise known as Phishing:
This type of fraud involves criminals making contact by email and can take a number of forms. The email may appear to be from a reputable company however when one clicks on the email or attachment or link within the email, malicious software (malware) is downloaded onto the PC or other device allowing the criminal to track online activity and identify personal or financial information for fraudulent purposes. Both individuals and companies can be victims of this type of crime.

In other cases, the criminal uses temptation as a means to extract money from you by pretending that you have won or inherited a large sum of money to convince you to provide personal or banking details or to transfer money.

Crime Prevention Advice

• Don’t open unsolicited emails.

• Don’t respond to any unsolicited email seeking personal, financial or security advice.

• Never click on a link or attachment in an unsolicited email.

• If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

• If you believe the email is from a genuine source, verify this independently. Independently means independent of the email sender

• Independently verify any requests for information and never use the contact details supplied to you by the caller or texter. Independent means independent of the caller or texter.

5. Phone Fraud otherwise known as Vishing or Smishing:
This type of fraud involves criminals contacting you by phone (vishing) or by text (Smishing) pretending to be your bank, credit card issuer, utility company or often a computer company. During the conversation they will try and trick you into giving personal, banking or security information. They may also convince you to make a money transfer to them or inform you that you have won a prize and need to send money to release it. Their intention is to use this information to commit fraud against you or other parties in your name.

Crime Prevention Advice

• Always say “NO” to unsolicited callers or texters seeking private information about you. Private information includes your name, address, date of birth, family details, bank account numbers, PIN, Passwords

• Independently verify any requests for information and never use the contact details supplied to you by the caller or texter. Independent means independent of the caller or texter.

• The caller may already have some information about you so don’t trust them because they use your name or other personal information.

• An Garda Síochána or your bank will never look for your Banking PIN number or Password or ask you to transfer money, or come to your home to collect your payment card, cheque book or cash.

6. Advance Fee Fraud:
This type of fraud involves criminals targeting victims to make advance or upfront payments for goods, services or financial gains that do not materialize. These can take many forms including:

i. Rental Fraud where would-be tenants are tricked into paying a fee to rent a property that doesn’t exist.

ii. Romance Fraud where a victim unknowingly forms an online relationship with a criminal who is using a fake online profile who then asks for money for sick relatives or to come and visit. They may also seek personal information with intent to commit fraud.

iii. Inheritance Fraud where the criminal pretends that someone very rich has died and has left you a large sum of money and will organize the payment of the inheritance for a fee.

iv. Lottery Fraud where the victim is told that they have won a lottery or prize draw and need to pay money to release the funds.

v. Ticket fraud where tickets are bought online that do not materialize.

vi. Ghost Broker /Car Insurance frauds where the insurance product does not exist or cover what it claims to do.

vii. Investment fraud where investment opportunities are advertised online which do not exist.

Crime Prevention Advice

• If it seems too good to be true it probably is.

• Beware of unsolicited offers of service or benefits.

• Ensure that you have independently verified the identity of the person or company you are dealing with and if that is not possible end contact immediately.

• Never give any personal financial or security information to any person or company unless you have satisfied yourself that they are genuine.

• Be wary if you are asked to transfer money to non-identifiable locations such as PO Boxes or through Money Transfer companies rather than bank accounts.

Related Articles

Back to top button