Gardaí in Mayo have observed a ‘noticeable increase’ in phishing scams, a garda chief has warned.
Detective Superintendent Joe McKenna, who has responsibility for major crime, said ‘the number of people getting caught is amazing’.
He was speaking at last Friday’s meeting of the Mayo Joint Policing Committee.
Phishing is where fraudulent emails – or calls or texts – are sent purporting to be from reputable companies in order to retrieve personal information, such as passwords, PPS numbers and credit-card details.
“The advice remains the same – beware of scam callers, texts and emails. People are still getting caught out. You should not engage with any person or provide any person information by email, telephone or text unless you are absolutely certain that person has the authority to be dealing with you,” said DS McKenna.
“An Garda Síochána and other State agencies do not cold call people looking for their PPS number or bank account, and banks, post offices and credit unions have the same policy.
“Do not engage with such a caller and do not click on any links in such emails or texts. If it does happen, take a screenshot and report it to us. We will be only too happy to assist and we will deal with it in a sensitive manner.
“The number of people getting caught out is amazing, and it is not just older people who might not be as aware, but plenty of younger people are being caught as well,” he added.
DS McKenna also advised people to exercise caution when buying anything online.
“When buying anything online, I would be ultra cautious in paying for something without having it in my hand. I would be particularly cautious if dealing with a private individual with no connection to paypal or any other means of security for people to deal with,” he warned.