Gardai have reminded the public about the dangers of the increasingly popular phone scams that have been plaguing thousands of people for weeks now.
Around the country, Garda stations have been receiving reports from the public about the recent wave of automated spam calls that are being made to mobile phones.
Essentially, fraudsters are claiming to be from Government and state agencies.
In a statement, gardai said they have “had reports of automated calls from numbers with 085 /087 prefixes purporting to be from the Department of Social Protection”.
“An automated message informs the recipient that their PPS number has been compromised and requests them to Press 1 to speak with an investigator or official. The caller is then asked to provide personal data.”
While this information is practical and indicative of the country as a whole, individual Garda stations have also provided updates in the interest of public safety.
For example, in a post on their official social media account, gardai in Westmeath said: “There are recent reports to our stations in Westmeath of people being called, from a person purporting to be a Garda and saying they owe money for a criminal fine or that their name and personal details were used by a criminal.
“The caller does have certain details of the person being called. They then state that a named Garda will ring from a Garda Station number which they do. The scammers can call with what appears to be a valid Garda Station number. They ask for your details over the phone and for payment of a fine.”
The statement adds: “This will never happen. No fines are ever paid over the phone. It is a scam. Hang up immediately. If it’s an automated voice asking you to press 1 or any other number, do not do so. No Garda personnel, HSE, Social Welfare of Govt agency will ask you for payment of anything over the phone.”
In terms of practical advice, the authorities have released the following five tips for anyone that might receive a bogus call;
• Do not engage with the caller.
• Do not follow the automated instructions – Do not press 1 etc.
• Never disclose personal or financial information.
• Hang up and end the call.
• Do not return the call.
Gardaí are also asking the public to spread the word about fraud prevention because people continue to fall victim to scams on a daily basis.
If anyone thinks that they’ve fallen victim to this scam, they’re being asked to report the matter to their local Garda station.
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