By Elizabeth Lee
CARLOW gardaí are warning people to be aware of cyber fraud after they received an increased number of complaints in relation to phone, computer and cyber scams. Most people believe that they are fraud savvy, however, fraudsters are now more sophisticated than ever and the public need to do more to protect ourselves from becoming victims of fraud.
Vishing (voice and phishing) is a phone scam where fraudsters call you and claim to be a genuine caller – for example, from a computer support, bank or service provider. Techniques used will include a sense of urgency, where the caller uses fear tactics pressuring you into thinking you must act quickly. Types of scams include money transfer scams or technical support scams.
SMS/Text message fraud
Known as smishing, where fraudsters send text messages claiming to be from reputable organisations such as bank, Revenue or service providers. The message will typically ask you to click on a link which will bring you to a fake website or to call a number which will put you through to the fraudster, where you are pressurised to disclose personal financial or security information.
Email scams (phishing)
Potential victims are targeted by the receipt of fake emails that look like they are from a reputable company. The emails are phishing for information such as usernames or passwords. They will urge you to click on the link and enter your personal or financial details into what is a fake website.
To protect yourself from fraud, follow these simple steps:
1) Be informed
- Stay in control and don’t be rushed into making decisions
- Don’t assume you can trust the incoming call/email/message
- Fraudsters may already have some basic information about you in their possession – don’t assume the call is genuine because they have these details.
2) Be alert
- To unexpected or unsolicited emails, telephone calls or texts – independently check the person is who they say they are
- Always check your financial statements to see if there are any unusual transactions; if so, report them to your financial institution
- Look out for that sense of urgency and threat to say if you don’t act immediately it will have a negative effect on your account.
3) Be secure
- Do the relevant checks and independently verify any requests
- Never give your security and/or personal details to anyone
- Never click on a link or attachment that you receive in an unsolicited message
- Never use public wi-fi to make online payments or access your finances
- Always insure your computer security is up to date and firewall protection is in place.
If you feel that you have been the victim of a phone, text or email scam which invariably targets your finances, contact your financial institution immediately and report the matter to your local gardaí.