Be scam-smart in 2021

February 17, 2021

With so much to think about due to the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit, it’s more important than ever to be alert to scams. To help you stay informed, we have compiled a list of current scams to be aware of.

Shopping online post-Brexit has led to a number of scams around the payment of taxes and charges. Scammers are sending text messages to the public pretending to be couriers and seeking payments for delivery of goods. Real couriers will never do this and will look for payment on delivery. Ignore these texts and contact your courier directly if you are unsure.

COVID-19 vaccine scams – Some people have received fraudulent text messages and phone calls requesting personal information and details in order to schedule appointments for the COVID-19 vaccination. These fake calls and texts claim to be sent by the Health Service Executive (HSE). You should ignore these calls and texts and if you are uncertain about the vaccination process you should contact your GP directly. Also be aware that there is no charge for the vaccination and any text or call that suggests there is a charge is fraudulent.

A scam that never seems to go away is phishing. Phishing is when scammers try to get your personal details like bank account and debit/credit card numbers, usernames, passwords, access codes or other sensitive information. They try to get this information through email, text messages, social media, messenger apps, fake websites or over the phone. The fraudsters often pretend to be a bank, utility company, charity or other reputable organisation.

With many people working and learning from home and being more dependent on laptops, mobile devices and online services, it is important to be vigilant. Unsolicited text messages and emails claiming to be from technology providers such as Microsoft and Google should be treated with caution as clicking on any links could compromise your private information. Your bank will never contact you by phone or email asking for account information. If you are unsure, call your bank directly using the phone number on your credit/debit card or the bank’s website.

Missed calls – This is where your phone rings once or twice and when you call the number back it is to a premium-rate line and ends up being very costly. Some smartphones will state the location of where the calls are coming from and these can be for places like Togo, Tonga and Chad. If you don’t know anyone living or visiting certain countries then it is best to ignore these calls and block the number if possible.

Check out more on scams and how you can stay safe and be vigilant.

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