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Phone Fraud

The second most common way for fraudsters to target potential victims of phone fraud is by contacting you by phone or text pretending to be from a reputable company such as a bank, card issuer, utility company or a computer company. During the conversation or via text they will try to trick you into giving them personal, financial or security information or into making a money transfer.

They may impart a sense of urgency asking you to “verify”, “update” or “reactivate” your account. They may indicate that something is wrong and that if you don’t act immediately it will have negative consequences, for example, that money will be lost or that there is fraud on your account. They don’t want to give you time to research or investigate their legitimacy.

Some fraudulent texts may include a link or attachment, which when clicked on downloads malicious software (mobile malware) on to your phone. The fraudster then uses the information to steal money from your account, carry out unauthorised card transactions or to carry out other criminal activities.

Key Advice

  1. Be very wary of an unsolicited phone calls or voicemails.
  2. Never divulge personal information until you have validated that the caller is a genuine representative of the organisation they claim to represent. You can do this by following a number of steps:
    • Take the callers number and advise them that you will call them back once you have validated their identity.
    • Look up the organisation’s phone number (by using the phone book or their website) and make contact directly with them to validate.
    • Do not validate the caller using a phone number they have given you (this could be a fake number)
    • If the caller is genuine, they will understand and welcome your need to validate them.
  3. Don’t respond to a text/SMS messages seeking financial, personal or security information unless you independently verify that the text came from the company it claims to be from.
  4. Fraudsters may already have basic information about you in their possession (e.g. name, address, account details), do not assume a caller is genuine because they have these details or because they claim to represent an organisation you deal with.
  5. Remember that it takes two people to terminate a phone call, you can use a different phone line to independently check the callers identity.
  6. Your bank or the Gardaí /Police will never ask for the following:
    • Your credit or debit card PIN number or full online banking password.
    • Request you withdraw money to hand over to them or transfer money to another account, even if they say it is in your name.
    • Come to your home to collect your cash, payment card or cheque book.