Scam emails 'as Gaeilge' to fool users
Published 04/01/2012 | 05:00
INTERNET fraudsters are going as far as translating scams into Irish in a bid to dupe unsuspecting web users.
A new take on the common 'Spanish Lottery' spam mails has been detected by antivirus companies in recent days.
Information technology expert Urban Schrott from ESET, an antivirus and IT security company based in Co Wexford, said most spam mails are sent out in English to reach a wide group of people.
However, Mr Schrott said Irish mailboxes were being assaulted with a massive run of spam emails in both English and Irish, telling the recipient they were in line to win more than €450,000 in a Spanish sweepstakes lottery.
"To make it all seem more credible, they went to the effort of translating it 'as Gaeilge' as well," Mr Schrott said. "If all .ie domain emails were targeted then as many as 10 million spam emails could have been pumped out.
"Translating it 'as Gaeilge' is sure to strike a certain chord of credibility to many Irish users and playing along in this case means sending your private info to the crooks."
The IT expert said 90pc of emails phishing for information and money were stopped at the internet server level.
"This one is very new. We noticed the first one yesterday and then got a second one," he said. "They are constantly trying to find ways to seem credible."
Research from the National Consumer Agency (NCA) found six out of 10 people reported that they or a family member had been targeted by a scam.
Around 28pc of those targeted replied with the intention to participate and one in 10 have handed over money or information to scam artists.
Mr Schrott urged people to mark such messages as spam and not to reply.
Mr Schrott said he was aware of a number of people who had fallen for the so-called 'London scam' where they receive an email appearing to come from a friend asking for money as they have been stranded in London.
Common scams reported to the NCA included phishing for sensitive personal information, a prize draw or sweepstake scam and unsolicited contact with a bogus claim that there is something wrong with the computer.