BY STEPHEN PORZIO
Don’t get caught out!
Bank of Ireland (BOI) is warning its customers about a high volume of family impersonation messages currently in circulation, reporting a 25% increase in cases recorded in July.
In a statement issued on Thursday (27 July), the bank claimed that fraudsters are sending fake messages purporting to be from family members with a lost or damaged phone who need access to money.
The aim of these messages is often to lead the victim to website links that are not genuine in an attempt to collect personal card and online banking details.
However, BOI have also said that in an increasing number of cases, fraudsters are asking people to go to their branch to make a payment, with the value of these payments in the months of May to July close to trebling when compared to the previous three months.
“Cases of ‘Hi Mum…’ text message scams follow a similar format each time, opening with ‘Hi Mum / Hi Dad, this is my temporary / new number …’ followed by a request intended to look like it’s from a child asking for help to pay for something urgently,” the bank explained.
“In some cases, the fraudster will ask for a payment to be made to a specific bank account or in other cases ask for a card number and then set it up on a digital wallet e.g. Apple Pay or Google Pay (and ask Mum for the code that the bank just sent).”
Commenting on this trend, BOI’s Head of Fraud Nicola Sadlier stated that criminals look to develop new variations on similar frauds in an effort to catch people out.
“This time, we have seen the fraudsters turn to family impersonation, targeting a particular vulnerability that preys on a parents’ instinct to respond to a child in trouble in order to access their money. This is particularly prevalent when families or children may be on holidays,” she added.
“The sense of urgency in this current wave of text message is deliberately designed to cause panic, meaning customers are unfortunately acting on the request before considering a rational response.
“If a text prompts you to act immediately – stop, think and check before reacting. Our advice to customers is no matter what you’re being told in a text, always call your son or daughter back on the number that you know”.
BOI also issued the following advice to customers:
- If you receive a text message with an unusual request from a child or family member, do not respond to the SMS or click on any link that may follow
- Instead, verify the identity of the sender: call your family member using their usual phone number saved in your contacts, a number that you know
- If you get a suspicious text, email a screenshot of the text to [email protected] and then delete the text; and Bank of
- Ireland customers who think they gave away their banking details should call the bank on its 24/7 Freephone line 1800 946 764 immediately
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