GNECB warns public of fraud and account takeovers

The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) is advising the public to be on high alert as recent bank account fraud using third parties has been reported. 

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Fraudsters are soliciting text messages and presenting them as legitimate and genuine bank websites where victims will be asked to enter their personal details and the fraud begins. 

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Smishing refers to individuals receiving a text message from what appears to be a government agency, a bank, a service provider or a delivery company with the intention of gaining control of your accounts, debit card details or devices. Phishing refers to emails being sent from the fraudsters in the same manner while vishing refers to calls being sent.

One million euros has been reported stolen in 2021 from cases of phishing, vishing and smishing while over €22.5 million has been allegedly stolen in cases of account takeover according to GNECB.

Account takeover occurs when victims receive a smishing text, vishing call or phishing email. The result leaves the fraudsters with access to the victim’s account where they usually make online transfers or add beneficiaries who are known by An Garda Síochána as money mules.

Other strategies include telling the victim they are under an investigation for tax fraud and must resolve the issue by paying their bill where they ask for personal details such as a PPS number and more. 

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It can be hard to distinguish when you are receiving a fraudulent text message, Detective Inspector Mel Smyth spoke at a fraud awareness briefing: “Practically everyone in the country has got a text that looks like it’s from a reliable source and yet it’s not.

“Remember Revenue will never call you to tell you that you are under investigation. Our advice is always to be wary of any concerning texts or calls. Just stop and think before you click on anything – never give away your personal data and if you have been a victim of account takeover fraud make sure you change your passwords and contact your bank.”

GNECB has advised people to never give away any personal information without official confirmation. If you suspect your bank has sent you a message that is random or suspicious you should contact the customer care phone number written on any of your bills sent from your bank provider to confirm if they have contacted you. 

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To report any crime of fraud contact your local Garda station.

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