Coronavirus scam warning


The public have been warned about the possibility of fraudsters trying to exploit the spread of Covid-19 or coronavirus to carry out scams.

In a statement, An Garda Síochána said theses scams can either occur online or in person, with the main types of scams being phishing, social engineering scams and fraudulent selling/trading.

Phishing is where a company or person receives an unsolicited email, text, WhatsApp message or telephone call claiming to be from a legitimate organisation.

These communications will contain an attachment containing what it claims is vital information regarding Covid-19 and prompting the receiver to open the attachment.

It can also ask the victim to enter email login details to assess this vital information and in both ways, can lead to malware infecting the computer.

As a result, Gardaí are advising people to never open attachments in unsolicited emails and ensure your computer has the most up to date anti-virus software installed.

People are also urged to be aware of scams where criminals attempt to exploit the charitable nature of people via social media or in person asking for donations to so-called charitable causes.

The criminal could be posing as a collector for a real charity or could set up online funding campaigns.

This is known as a social engineering scam.

The public are encouraged to only ever donate to legitimate, recognised charities. If they encounter a person claiming to be from a charity, look to see their ID and collection permit. If in doubt, do not contribute and contact Gardaí

Gardaí also warn that criminals may try to fraudulent sell in-demand medical supplies like facemasks or hand sanitiser online.

These goods may be offered for sale on legitimate second-hand selling sites, via fake website or via social media sites.

In all cases the fraudster will ask for the money to be transferred into a bank account, or seek a deposit or even payment up front.

These goods are then not delivered or counterfeit goods are delivered.

People are advised to only purchase from legitimate vendors.

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