Gardaí issue warning abour 'smishing' scam designed to gain access to bank accounts

Gardaí issue warning abour 'smishing' scam designed to gain access to bank accounts

Gardaí have issued a warning about a text message scam that is designed to gain access to personal bank accounts.

The so-called 'smishing' scam sees potential victims receive a text message that claims to be from their bank and asks them to confirm personal details or click website links to unfreeze their account.

The website will then attempt to get people to disclose personal or financial information.

If clicked on, it can also download harmful software to computers or phones.

Gardaí at the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) and FraudSMART, the fraud awareness initiative of Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), say the message is designed to create panic or a sense of urgency, prompting people to act without thinking.

While BPFI was unable to provide a specific figure for the number of customers affected by the scam, a spokesperson said its member banks saw an increase in this type of scam two months ago and that there has been a particular increase in the last two weeks, with customers being targeted daily.

Detective Chief Superintendent Patrick Lordan, GNECB, said banks and other financial institutions will never make unsolicited contact with individuals asking for personal details, account numbers, PINs or passwords.

"People receiving unsolicited communications looking for these personal details should not reply to text messages, emails or other communications," he said.

"They should contact their bank independently to check on the validity of the communications they have received before taking any action."

Niamh Davenport, who leads BPFI’s FraudSMART programme, said people should be wary of unexpected calls or texts.

"Fraudsters are very convincing but don’t be afraid to take the time to make the relevant checks," she said.

"The scammer will try to rush you, but this is all designed to panic you into doing something you wouldn’t otherwise do."

Bank of Ireland warned about a smishing scam earlier this week, while other banks issued warnings in July after customers received messages telling them that their accounts had been "frozen".

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