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Telephone Scam

A telephone scam causing near fraudulent transfer of life savings.

Carmel received a call from an individual purporting to be from her bank. She provided all of her banking details on the phone after a series of questions, nearly following the individual’s instructions to take out and transfer her savings to a ‘safe’ account.

Carmel received a call from an individual who, stating he worked for her bank, asked her details about her savings account and if she had recently being taking money out every week. Carmel, a retiree, was at home and received the call on her landline – she was quite concerned as she knew she hadn’t taken money out of the account in a number of years. She thought to herself – has someone been accessing my account? Have I been hacked?

Carmel shared her personal banking details with the individual who was purporting to be from the head office of her bank. She was then instructed to complete a temporary ‘safeguard solution’ while he investigated the matter. He told her to go to her local branch, remove a large amount from her account and lodge it through a money wire transfer in her local post office to ‘safe’ account.

If questioned at her local branch she was to say that the money was for a relative’s wedding. Once he had found the solution, the money would be returned to her account after a number of days once her account was secure.

Thankfully when Carmel arrived at her branch, she was asked a series of questions as to why she was taking such a large sum out for a family wedding. Her teller asked her was there anything Carmel would like to share as it was quite a large sum. She also was informed of a number of scams that had taken place where fraudsters  posed as banks on the phone. Carmel grew suspicious and told the teller about the advice she received on the phone from the bank’s ‘head office’.

Carmel’s local teller informed her that no head office of any bank would advise a customer to lie to local branch staff, or to cash savings into another off-site account in such a manner.

The teller explained how other customers had been targeted and lost large amounts of savings – with no ability to recoup them – as they had taken the money out themselves, and consciously authorised transactions. Carmel was embarrassed she had almost fallen for it and on thinking back really should have known a bank would never ask a customer to complete such a transaction.

Fraudsters are creative and resourceful – there is no shame in being deceived. Don’t be embarrassed to report a scam; by doing so you will make it more difficult for fraudsters to deceive someone else.

It’s your money, make sure you have control. Be FraudSMART – be informed, alert and secure.


  • Always double check:
    • double check the phone number is in fact your bank by calling them back remembering to phone the bank’s number as detailed on your debit/credit card.
    • double check if it is true that your account is missing money like Carmel was told.
    • double check that the individual works at the bank by taking their name and details.
  • If you are in any way concerned please contact your Bank.
  • Call the number on your debit/credit card, make sure you hear a dial tone if calling from a landline or call from your mobile phone and tell them about your recent contact.
  • Contact your local Garda Station and report the incident.
  • Don’t transfer money out of your account unless you are doing so of your own accord and not being instructed to do so by a ‘caller’. Once your money leaves your bank account it is gone…

For further information on different types of online fraud and how you can protect yourself click here.