A LEADING bank has warned consumers of what it said was an “unprecedented spike” in fraud.
ank of Ireland said up to up 20 new fraudulent websites are appearing every day.
It said that this week has seen the highest ever number of new phishing sites recorded.
Phishing refers to scammers using a fraudulent website that appears to look the same as the legitimate website. The thieves use the dodgy website try to get individuals to unwittingly volunteer personal details or information that can be then be used to steal from them.
Bank of Ireland said there has been a 184pc increase in number of customers targeted by fraudsters to date this year.
There has also been a spike in smishing, where fraudsters send fake text messages, which appear to come from Bank of Ireland, and direct customers to fake websites imitating Bank of Ireland websites.
The bank added: “Since last month, the number of new ‘phishing’ websites detected by Bank of Ireland’s fraud prevention team has doubled, with an unprecedented increase in activity in the last week and up to 20 new fraudulent sites appearing per day.”
Ireland is the second most scammed country in Europe.
Research has found that almost €8,000 is being defrauded for every 1,000 inhabitants.
The research was carried out by Uswitch.com, a UK-based comparison and switching service, using data collected from the European Central Bank and the UK Finance Fraud Report 2021.
Scamming is now so prevalent as a lucrative growing crime phenomenon that gardaí have said that despite increased publicity around the activities of fraudsters, people continue to fall victim to scams on a daily basis.
“In recent days, gardaí have received reports nationwide including reports from counties Donegal, Monaghan, Dublin and Kilkenny relating to automated scam phone calls,” a Garda spokesman said.
Head of group Fraud at Bank of Ireland Edel McDermott said: “We are seeing an alarming increase in the level of fraudulent activity this year.
“May and June are showing a worrying upward trend in activity.
“To put this in context, versus the same time last year, we have seen an almost three-fold increase in the number of customers being targeted by fraudsters.”
She said the potential financial impact is even more stark, with fraudsters attempting to defraud close to five times more money than in the same period in 2020.
“Our teams are working hard to respond to these spikes and intercept fraud attempts but unfortunately, if customers click on links and provide personal banking details, recovery is not always possible”.
Bank of Ireland warned consumers that they should not not click on links or to respond to SMS text messages, which are designed to appear as if sent by the bank and look like originating from a genuine phone number.
The bank said it will never send a text with a link to a, it said. website that asks for online banking login details or any one-time codes that it has sent to customers