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Don't share bank details over the phone, farmers warned

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More than a fifth of people have received communications mentioning coronavirus that they suspect are financial scams, according to Aviva (PA)

More than a fifth of people have received communications mentioning coronavirus that they suspect are financial scams, according to Aviva (PA)

Deputy James Browne

Deputy James Browne

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More than a fifth of people have received communications mentioning coronavirus that they suspect are financial scams, according to Aviva (PA)

Farmers have been warned not to share their bank details over the phone after it emerged a number of farmers have received calls from people proporting to be from the Department of Agriculture, looking for their bank details.

The callers have told farmers they need these details to allegedly offer refunds or seek due payments.

However, the Department said they never seek bank details or any other personal information by phone or by text message.

"If you receive a telephone call purporting to be from this Department and seeking this type of information, please do not share your information," said a Department statement.

They also asked anyone who may have accidentally shared their bank details to immediately make contact with their bank and the Gardaí.

"Anyone who mistakenly provides personal information in response to these types of fraudulent phone calls should contact their bank or credit card company immediately and alert the Gardaí.

"It is important to point out that these types of scams do not involve this Department's systems or security, they are designed to get your bank details.

"The fraudulent calls coincides with an increase in farm-related criminal activity over recent weeks where there has been an increase in theft on farms."

Over the past number of weeks, there has been a spike in the number of trailer robberies.

Gardai in Tipperary issued a statement asking farmers to ensure all farming equipment was safely secured and to put property markings on equipment by using welding or engraving tools, or fitting a GPS device if possible.

There has also been a rise in farm dog thefts in recent months, according to a statement issued by the Gardai, with the perpetrators using them for "ransom, resale, fighting and breeding".

Wexford TD James Browne recently called for harsher punishment for criminals in dog theft.

He said: "The current law does not reflect the emotional harm that can be caused to victims of pet theft. The penalty for pet theft should be more severe than for the theft of a non-living property."

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