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Government issues warning about ongoing Covid-19 text scam


by Shayna Sappington
19th Jun 2020
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The government has warned the public about an ongoing text scam in relation to Covid-19 payments


The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has asked the public to beware of fraudulent text messages asking for bank information.

These texts, falsely claiming to be from Social Welfare, say the receiver is entitled to a Covid-19 payment and must provide their bank details to receive the sum. 

An official warning was recently issued, stating: “The department has become aware that some members of the public have received text messages on their mobile phones from an unknown number telling them that they are entitled to the Covid-19 payment and to click a link provided which is Social Welfare Ireland.

“When the person clicks on the link, they are then asked to provide their bank account details. The department wishes to advise customers and the public that this text message is a scam and the link has nothing to do with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.” 

People are warned to not click on the link or reply to the text. Anyone who has already provided personal information to these types of texts should contact their bank immediately.

This is one of many scams that have started since the pandemic, and European Consumer Centre Ireland (ECC Ireland) has since issued information on scams to watch out for, common scam warning signs and general advice on this issue.

Scam warning signs

How to spot a scam?

  • The call, letter, e-mail or text has come out of the blue.
  • You have won a prize but never entered a draw
  • You are asked for money upfront to release your ‘win’
  • You are asked for your bank account, credit card details or other confidential information
  • You are told you must reply straight away or you will lose the winnings or refund
  • And above all, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

Common scams

ECC Ireland also says to be wary of any messages that promise huge rewards (i.e. lottery winnings), unsolicited emails or spam (especially with links), cold calls that require payment or sensitive information, prize or employment offers that require payment or shopping sites that ask for unnecessary personal information.

Common scams include those posing as well known charities and asking for donations, free holiday offers, false lottery winnings and unofficial websites offering public services.

If you think you have been the victim of fraudulent activity, you should notify your bank, close your account and report the matter to your local Garda station immediately.

 

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