Gardai warn of new ‘social media’ enabled fraud scheme

by Rachel Darcy

An Garda Siochana from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau have warned the public to be aware of ‘Social Media’ enabled fraud.

The fraud seems to be the most prevalent on Facebook, where customers of a banking institution are being targeted through Facebook advertisements.

As with all frauds, the goal of the Fraudster is to deceive victims into parting with their money or to reveal access details to their bank accounts or credit cards.

The Gardai report that the method being used involves inviting the customer to ‘take a tour’ of an online banking system for a small reward, approximately €15 or €30.

The customer then clicks on the link, to a ‘Fake’ log in page, where they are encouraged to enter their online banking login details – these details are now in the hands of the Fraudster.

The Fraudster takes control of the account, and sets up a new ‘Beneficiary’ on the account, where money can be transferred. Customers then receive an automated text from the bank, with a code to authorise the addition of the ‘Beneficiary’ to the account.

The customer then enters the code into the ‘Fake’ account which is captured by the Fraudsters, or intercepted via malware on a computer, laptop or mobile phone.

Gardai say that after this process, the affected bank account can then be emptied within minutes.

Detective Chief Superintendent Lordan of the GNECB has issued the following guidelines:

• Be very weary of advertisements offering a ‘reward’ that leads you to a situation where you have to reveal your financial details, even if it appears to be a genuine Bank website
• Do not click on links in the advertisement
• Check with the bank or other organisation apparently offering the ‘reward’ by searching for that bank or organisation online and independently of the link in the advertisement.
• If the genuine website is not clearly offering the advertisement for a ‘reward’ – the social media advertisement is a fraud. Your money has been protected by a simple check.

Detective Chief Superintendent Lordan is also reminding the public to never share banking details, pin numbers or passwords with unknown persons online, by text, SMS, over the phone or any other way.

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