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FraudSMART warns consumers to be on high alert to Covid-19 scams as latest figures show card fraud reached €12m

Tuesday 31st March 2020 – FraudSMART, the fraud awareness initiative led by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), has today said new figures from across the banking sector reveal that overall card fraud reached €12m in the first half of 2019.

Speaking on publication of the figures: Brian Hayes, BPFI CEO said the analysis indicates that about 80% of card fraud involved online shopping with the remainder taking place when using a card in store. This is a significant sum that highlights the needs for consumers to be extra careful and alert to scams of any kind, particularly in light of current developments in relation to Covid-19. FraudSMART is today warning consumers and businesses to be alert to an expected rise in Covid-19 related frauds and scams as criminals take advantage of the current crisis.

Outlining the increased risks involved and the type of scams which are likely to emerge, Brian Hayes said: “In the coming weeks and months we believe that there will be significant attempts at fraudulent activity around Covid-19 related scams with the potential for substantial losses as fraudsters seek to capitalise on the heightened anxieties of the public during the current crisis. With a range of financial and other Covid-19 supports now available for impacted consumers and business we anticipate that fraudsters will target victims via email, text, phone and social media by posing as genuine organisations including government, banks and health care providers in an attempt to get victims to disclose personal or financial information.

“We have already had warnings in relation to the new Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment with fraudsters posing as officials asking for financial details to process this payment. Unfortunately, this is exactly the type of impersonation fraud we are expecting to see an increase in similar to what is happening in other jurisdictions including the UK.”

To get ahead of the fraudsters and prevent this we are asking consumers and business to be extra vigilant at this time. While the scams may have been adapted for the current crisis the advice in terms of protecting yourself remains the same: don’t be rushed, take you time to do the relevant checks and always immediately report any suspicious activity to you bank or local Garda Station.

Visit for tips and advice on how to protect yourself from scams.”

Key Advice

  • Beware of emails, online requests, and online advertisements offering Covid-19 related tests and products purporting to be vaccines or cures.
  • Always independently check websites or dial the phone number of the company using their website.
  • Beware of unsolicited emails asking for personal details or asking you to click on a link. Do not engage – again pick up the phone or independently check the website of the company sending the email.
  • Never share or give away your credentials. You will never be asked for your credentials by your bank whether related to a payment or refunds.
  • Utility companies, Government Departments and Revenue will never ask you to reveal personal details over an email or text.
  • Do not make donations to charities without first checking authenticity.
  • Always double check with another person before transferring any money or buying any product
  • Check your bank account often for suspicious activity.

 Further information on Covid-19 and other fraud types can be found on the FraudSMART website FraudSMART is a fraud awareness initiative developed by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) on behalf of the banking industry.

Click here to view examples of Covid-19 related scams detected in other jurisdictions which typically we would expect to see reaching Ireland in due course.


Contact: Jillian Heffernan, Head of Communications, 087 9016880 or

About FraudSMART: FraudSMART is a fraud awareness initiative developed by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) in conjunction with the following member banks, Allied Irish Bank plc, Bank of Ireland, KBC Bank Ireland, PermanentTSB, Ulster Bank and An Post Money. The programme aims to raise consumer and business awareness of the latest financial fraud activity and trends and provide simple and impartial advice on how best they can protect themselves and their resources.

About BPFI: Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) represents the banking, payments and fintech sector in Ireland.  Together with its affiliates, the Federation of International Banks in Ireland and the Fintech & Payments Association of Ireland, BPFI has 100 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.