Covid-19 warnings as card fraud costs €12m

Card fraud jumped to €12m in the first half of 2019, new figures show, prompting warnings to consumers about Covid-19 scams.
Covid-19 warnings as card fraud costs €12m

Card fraud jumped to €12m in the first half of 2019, new figures show, prompting warnings to consumers about Covid-19 scams.

About 80% of card fraud involved online shopping while the remainder took place when using a card in store.

FraudSMART, an initiative led by the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), is warning consumers and businesses to be extra vigilant and alert to scams and to report any suspicious activity to their bank or gardai.

A spike in fraud is expected as criminals try to capitalise on the Covid-19 crisis, targeting victims via phone calls, email, text and social media.

“In the coming weeks and months we believe that there will be significant attempts at fraudulent activity around Covid-19 related scams with the potential for substantial losses as fraudsters seek to capitalise on the heightened anxieties of the public during the current crisis," Brian Hayes, BPFI CEO said.

"With a range of financial and other Covid-19 supports now available for impacted consumers and business we anticipate that fraudsters will target victims via email, text, phone and social media by posing as genuine organisations including government, banks and health care providers in an attempt to get victims to disclose personal or financial information.

We have already had warnings in relation to the new Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment with fraudsters posing as officials asking for financial details to process this payment.

While scams may be adapted for the current crisis, the advice on protecting yourself remains the same: don’t be rushed, take your time to do the relevant checks and always immediately report any suspicious activity to your bank or local Garda Station, Mr Hayes said.

Key Advice from FraudSMART.ie

  • Beware of emails, online requests, and online advertisements offering Covid-19 related tests and products purporting to be vaccines or cures.
  • Always independently check websites or dial the phone number of the company using their website.
  • Beware of unsolicited emails asking for personal details or asking you to click on a link. Do not engage – again pick up the phone or independently check the website of the company sending the email.
  • Never share or give away your credentials. You will never be asked for your credentials by your bank whether related to a payment or refunds.
  • Utility companies, Government Departments and Revenue will never ask you to reveal personal details over an email or text.
  • Do not make donations to charities without first checking their authenticity.
  • Always double-check with another person before transferring any money or buying any product Check your bank account often for suspicious activity.
  • Further information on Covid-19 and other fraud types can be found on www.fraudSMART.ie

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