Vigilant Cork councillor helps foil attempted Covid-19 email scam

Gardaí are investigating an attempted Covid-19 email scam on county councillors, which was swiftly brought to their attention when one of them became suspicious of the supposed origin of an email request.
Vigilant Cork councillor helps foil attempted Covid-19 email scam

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

Midleton-based Fine Gael councillor Susan McCarthy said her suspicions about the bona fides of the request were aroused because the other

councillor who supposedly emailed her a request for help would not be known as someone who used 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,” said Ms McCarthy.

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 Independent councillor Mary Linehan-Foley said she had also received the email and, like Ms McCarthy, was suspicious that it wasn’t from the person it was claimed to be.

“I was concerned about it, and when others got it from the same person we knew it was a scam,” she said.

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

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

However, he said 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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