Wednesday 21 August 2019

Adrian Weckler: 'Don't be naive - lending your account to fraudsters will be taken very seriously'


Modern 'phishing' email scammers are much more subtle and clever than in the past (stock photo)
Modern 'phishing' email scammers are much more subtle and clever than in the past (stock photo)
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

'Psst! Can I borrow your bank account for a few days? It's for a real business reason, honest!'

Would you do it?

The vast majority of us probably wouldn't. Or if we did, it would be hard to argue we didn't suspect something fishy. But for some students, it seems the chance of making a few hundred euro instantly for such a banking "service" is irresistible.

What top gardaí are saying is there is little difference between doing this and illegally bringing a bag of cash through an airport. Both are the proceeds of crime. And they're starting to crack down on the student 'mules' who facilitate it.

Just in case anyone thinks the authorities might go easy on an 18-year-old for being naive, today's comments from Detective Chief Superintendent Patrick Lordan may be a wake-up call.

Kids, he says, are looking at the prospect of "custodial sentences". The crime is analogous to "drug trafficking".

They know very well what they're doing, Mr Lordan says. And the State can't afford to let them off easy. The scale of the problem in Ireland is growing, thanks to new online techniques.

A survey by the Behaviours and Attitudes polling company, using Central Statistics Office data, found 21pc of small firms were targeted for "invoice redirection fraud" in 2018, with about a third targeted for financial fraud generally.

Of these, the survey found one in 18 of the attempts was successful.

We're all used to receiving bogus emails from supposed Nigerian princes. But the new breed of "phishing" email scammers are much more subtle and clever.

They often use the email address of someone we actually correspond with. The communications may even mimic the tone used by the person who normally emails us.

Faced with the rise in such technology, gardaí say they have little choice but to take a firm stance.

Irish Independent

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