Online Scams on the Rise in Ireland During Lockdown
As Covid-19 limits the means to travel abroad for holidays, the government encourages people to go on 'staycations'. People are looking for alternatives and are buying caravans, campervans and small pleasure boats. Cyber criminals are taking advantage of this and are targeting them by creating fake websites to defraud them. *
The boats and caravans scam
There were two fraudulent websites, caravan2009.co.uk and islandboats.co.uk, where victims paid for non-existing boats, camper vans and caravans. From islandboats.co.uk, 12 Irish victims lost €83,000 in total . The fake websites were sophisticated where adverts were fully detailed and even answered customer calls promptly. The fraudsters also encouraged clients to consult their Companies House record to further prove their 'legitimacy'. These websites successfully stole the companies' identities.**
Fake messages from courier companies, The Revenue Commissioners and banks
With shops closed, online shopping increased dramatically leading to more deliveries. Warnings from An Post and DPD have been issued as fake emails and text messages were circulating. People who received these fake messages were asked to confirm their personal details or pay an additional cost for a failed delivery. *
Fake emails and text messages pretending to be from the Revenue Commissioners ask victims to provide personal information. They "a refund of tax or request a payment for tax owing". *
A text scam was detected by gardaí where the scammer asked people to cut up their bank cards, post it to an address and text their pin numbers. The scammer deceives them by saying "their card had been compromised at a store or online". *
How to avoid being a victim to online scams?
Know that banks, government departments and delivery companies will never ask for your personal and financial details by email or text.
When purchasing anything online, ensure the website is secure. Beside the URL should have a lock symbol.
Avoid using the browsers save features such as saving card details or passwords.
Become more cyber aware by listening or reading for recent cyber threats or scams.