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Last updateSun, 06 Nov 2016 10am

Back You are here: Home Technology Technology Security Scammers hit consumers with increasingly sophisticated ploys

Scammers hit consumers with increasingly sophisticated ploys



The aim is to gain access to the consumer’s computer so as to install malware that will then steal sensitive data such as online banking details or credit card numbers.

Of the callers to the NCA’s helpline in the past year, 679 had been contacted by scammers over the phone, far more than the number of people contacted by email, through a website, by post, or another method.

The range of scams go beyond phishing, taking in fake lotteries where a scammer contacts a consumer claiming they have won money only to find they must transfer fees to claim the prize, and unsolicited home repair, where someone calls to the door offering home or garden repairs and then charging for uncompleted or shoddy work.

Karen O’Leary, director of the public awareness and financial education division of the NCA, said: "It is sometimes harder to recognise a scammer if you are dealing with them over the phone or if they use an e-mail to contact you.

"We would always urge consumers to be vigilant and never give any personal details, such as their PIN to a caller, even if they claim to be calling from your bank and appear helpful. Reputable organisations will never contact you and ask you to verify personal details such as your PIN over the phone.

"Scammers target those who are most vulnerable, revisiting consumers who have been scammed before. Many of us have a parent, friend, or neighbour who would benefit from a gentle reminder about the types of scams out there and how they might be targeted."

She said the ease with which phone scammers can access phone numbers means anyone unsure over the veracity of a call should offer to hang up and call the person back. Details of the caller should be available online or on letters if they are genuine.

"If you or someone you know is aware of a scam, you can contact the NCA to tell us about it and we can warn other consumers," she said. "If you have been the victim of a scam, contact the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigations or your local Garda station immediately."

See www.nca.ie for information on scams, or phone 1890 432 432.
What is a scam?

A scam is a scheme designed to con you out of your money or your personal details such as your bank account details, PIN numbers or internet banking login details. It is easy to fall victim to a scam in the following ways:

    over the phone
    by email, text or letter
    on a false copy of a real website
    through social networking sites
    at your front door or
    on the street.

Scams can take many forms - fake lotteries, pyramid schemes, and other "get rich quick" deals, as well as phishing. The best way to protect yourself is to be aware of the different types of scams so that you can easily spot them.

Always be wary of tempting offers and always use your common sense. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is! And if you do fall for a scam, don’t be embarrassed – act on it immediately.
What should you do if you have been caught out by a scam?

If you think you have been the victim of a scam or fraud and you have given someone your bank account or credit card information, inform your bank or credit card company immediately so they can tell you what action they need to take. This might include putting a stop to your account, cancelling your credit or debit card or stopping a transaction from going through your account.

You should also contact the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigations on (01) 6663777 or contact your local Garda station immediately.

Tell us about any scams you, your friends, families or colleagues have experienced. We are working to combat scams in Ireland and building awareness about scams is the best way to put a stop to them.

If you were scammed somewhere else in Europe, tell the European Consumer Centre Ireland. You can also sign up to the European Consumer Centre’s monthly e-newsletter which warns Irish consumers about scams in Europe

And finally, you should let your friends and family know so they won’t get caught out.

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