An Garda Síochána (AGS) has reported a big increase in fraudulent phone calls, emails and text messages last year.
According to the force, the number of vishing (fraud phone calls), smishing (fraud texts) and phishing (fraud emails) incidents increased by 370% last year, compared with 2020. Overall, fraud offences more than doubled.
Gardaí have warned people to “stop and think before you click”, to be wary of unsolicited calls, emails and texts, and not to click on any links provided by such communications.
“The most prevalent frauds are purporting to be from your bank, or other financial institution, where you are invited to click a link which brings you to a cloned website, subsequently looking for your PIN,” AGS says.
Warning on ‘Irish’ numbers
The gardaí are warning the public to never give away personal data – such as bank-account details, PIN numbers, credit-card numbers, passwords, one-time codes, PPS numbers and Eircodes.
The force has also urged victims of fraud to change their passwords immediately, and report the issue to their bank, as well as to the gardaí.
On vishing, AGS warns that just because a phone number looks Irish does not mean it is – as fraudsters use VOIP and spoofed numbers.
The force is also warning people to be wary of text messages “even if they are contained within the thread of previous genuine texts from banks”.