Gardaí investigating Covid-19 email scam on Cork councillors

Gardaí are investigating an attempted Covid-19 scam on county councillors, which was quickly brought to their attention when one became highly suspicious of the supposed origin of the request.
Gardaí investigating Covid-19 email scam on Cork councillors

Gardaí are investigating an attempted Covid-19 scam on county councillors, which was quickly brought to their attention when one became highly suspicious of the supposed origin of the request.

Midleton-based Cllr Susan McCarthy said her suspicions about the bona fides of the request were aroused because the other much-older county councillor who supposedly sent her the email request for help is known not to use email, or indeed any other form of such technology.

“The request said the person was involved in helping to care for people in hospitals who were suffering from Covid-19. The person said they were looking for 10 Apple iTunes vouchers to the value of €1,000 and that they would pay me back at a later date,” Ms McCarthy said.

She contacted other councillors in the East Cork municipal district area and discovered they had also received a similar request from the same source.

“It appeared that whoever was responsible for this was working from a list of councillors who were elected in the second last Local Elections, as there were no newly-elected members who got the email,” she said.

Ms McCarthy informed gardaí and they have started an investigation.

Youghal-based Cllr Mary Linehan-Foley said she also received the email and, like Ms McCarthy, was suspicious that it wasn’’t from the person it was purporting to be from: “I was concerned about it and when others got it from the same person we knew it was a scam."

Ms McCarthy said she then discovered that other councillors representing the municipal districts in Fermoy and Carrigaline also received the scam email.

She said it wasn’’t long before all county councillors got notification from their corporate services warning them that the bogus email was circulating.

Cllr Paul Hayes, who is based in the West Cork municipal district also confirmed that he got one.

However, he said that in his case it was purporting to come from a different councillor to the one named in the emails sent to Ms McCarthy and Ms Linehan-Foley.

Mr Hayes said he also assumed that it was not a bona fide request.

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