Golden rules to avoid cyber scammers

November 5, 2020

Over the past few months we have heard about  a number of scams that fraudsters are using. In particular they have been ‘phishing’ people to get access to their bank accounts and convincing people to invest in ‘fintech’ and ‘cryptocurrency’ investments which later turn out to be scams. To help you avoid scams we have put together a list of golden rules for you to follow before you give out any personal or financial information.

  • If something sounds too good to be true it usually is.
  • If someone contacts you out of the blue and asks you to give or confirm your personal, bank or debit/credit card details be very wary. If they claim to be from your bank, hang up and call your bank back using a number from their website or the back of your bank card.
  • Don’t click on a link in an email or social media message even if it comes from a friend or family member. We have also seen scam messages coming through to phones in the same text or email thread as legitimate messages from your bank, which can make it very difficult to tell the real thing from a scam.
  • If you are offered an investment always make sure the firm is authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland. You can check their list of unauthorised firms to make sure a warning notice has not been issued about the company. Be especially careful about investments in crypto-currencies as these are not regulated in Ireland.
  • Fraudsters sell lists of people who have fallen for scams on to other scammers, these are sometimes called ‘suckers lists’. Scammers have been known to contact known victims of scams claiming to be able to help them get their money back for a fee.
  • If you are buying or selling something online try not to deal in payments of cash or non-bank money transfers. If you are making a transfer try and make sure it is from one bank to another as this makes it easier to trace. A bank draft is safer than a cheque as drafts must be paid for upfront and there is less chance of them being forged or bouncing.
  • If you are selling something and the buyer gives you more money than you asked for when paying by cheque or transfer beware. This is a scam. You will be asked to refund the extra money and then the cheque will bounce.

If you think you may have fallen victim to a scam or fraud and have given someone your bank or credit card details contact your bank or card issuer immediately so they can advise you and if necessary put a hold on your account, cancel your cards or cheques or carry out additional security when issuing payments and transfers from your account. You should also report it to your local Garda station.

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