Don’t be fooled by scammers this April

March 29, 2018

Scams are a constant worry but with April Fools’ Day coming up it’s worth taking a look at some of the current scams out there, how you can spot them and what to do if you fall victim to one.

Four scams to watch out for

  1. Holiday rental scams: watch out for scammers when booking your holiday accommodation online. Scammers take genuine listings and information from legitimate websites and post them on another site. They then claim that due to high demand they will need a deposit upfront to secure the fake property.
  2. ‘Wangiri’ phone scams: this is where you receive a phone call, usually with an unusual international prefix. It normally only rings once or twice but when you return the call it turns out to be to a premium number and you are charged extremely high rates.
  3. Crypto-currencies: there has been a lot of hype around crypto-currencies in recent months. As crypto-currencies are not regulated, they can be used by scammers. Watch out for “investment opportunities” that are crowdfunding to launch a new crypto-currency and be especially vigilant when it comes to schemes that focus on encouraging friends and family to invest.
  4. Wedding scams: scammers exploit the excitement around weddings by setting up fake websites that offer large discounts on things like venue hire, catering and dresses but once you pay a deposit you get nothing in return.

Scams and how to spot them

Scammers use a variety of ways to try and trick you out of your money or personal information but there are simple steps you can take to avoid being scammed:

  • It’s a cliché, but if a deal seems too good to be true it usually is. If something you want to buy seems unusually cheap, you should be very wary.
  • Do your research if you are buying online. Check website reviews and social media accounts as the majority of legitimate businesses have a healthy online presence but be sceptical – some scammers have been known to post fake reviews online. The same language in a number of reviews can be a sign of this, as can misspelling in several reviews and reviews being posted on the same day.
  • If you get an unusual email or phone call, stop and think. Would a friend that normally rings suddenly email you with a suggested link? Do you know anybody in Liberia who may be calling you?
  • If your ‘bank’ contacts you asking you to call them at a certain number get a contact number from their website or call into a local branch.

What to do if you think you’ve been scammed

If you think you may have been scammed you should contact your bank or credit card company immediately in case a hold needs to be put on any cards or accounts. You should also contact your local Garda station straight away.

Contact us and let us know of any scams you’ve come across and make sure to share the scam with your friends and family, as the more people that know the less chance they will fall victim.

If you’ve fallen for a scam elsewhere in the EU you should contact the European Consumer Centre Ireland.

 

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