Phone, lottery and pension scams

There are a variety of ways scammers will try and con you out of your money and details.

Missed call scams

This is where you receive a phone call with an unusual international prefix. It normally only rings once or twice and shows up as a missed call on your phone but when you return the call it turns out to be to a premium rate number and you are charged extremely high rates.

Depending on the type of phone you have it may show the country the call came from but if it doesn’t then don’t automatically return the call. Do a quick online search of the number or the prefix (the first four numbers) to see the country it came from.

If you don’t know anybody in this country or don’t usually have any contact with that part of the world it’s most likely a scam. Don’t call back.

Lottery scams

This scam is when people have been convinced they have won something in a lottery or prize draw. Scammers can make contact by phone, text, email, online or face-to-face. They will claim that in order to get the prize you will have to pay a fee or give them your personal details.

They may also try and create a sense of urgency and say you have a limited time to claim your winnings. The most important thing to remember is that you can’t win a lottery you did not enter or buy a ticket for. Ask yourself, how did they know to contact you if you haven’t given your phone number or email address? Legitimate lotteries will not ask you to make an advance payment to claim your prize.

Pension scams

This type of scam targets those that are close to retiring and attempts to con people out of their pension funds.

Scammers make contact in a variety of ways such as phone, email, online or in-person. They try and convince you that they can invest your pension and earn very high or guaranteed returns, offer free pension reviews or create a sense of urgency by claiming it is a limited time offer.

As your pension is one of your most important financial products don’t be rushed into making decisions about it, always check the organisation you are dealing with is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and get independent financial advice if you need to.

Who to contact

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 provider 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 contact your local Garda station.

You can contact us and tell us about any scams you, your family or friends have experienced as building awareness about scams is one of the best ways to prevent them. If you were scammed somewhere else in Europe contact the European Consumer Centre Ireland.


Last updated on 5 July 2019

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