Monday 22 July 2019

Gardaí warn of online payment scam

Gardaí have told the public to beware online scams
Gardaí have told the public to beware online scams

Bill Browne

Gardí have warned people to take extra care while paying for items or transferring money online after scammers used the name of a popular payment platform to con a north Cork man out of cash.

Speaking to Patricia Messinger on her C103 'Cork Today' show, Fermoy-based Sergeant John Kelly explained how the scam works.

"This man lodged a three-figure sum into his Paypal account, but did not get the usual verification code. He then Googled Paypal and rang the first number that appeared on his computer screen," said Sgt Kelly.

The man subsequently provided his bank details to the person on the other end of the telephone line, believing them to be a legitimate Paypal representative. 

"However, this was not the case and the money was taken from his account. Unfortunately, he has no comeback in this instance because he gave his details to the person on the other end of the telephone line," said Sgt Kelly. 

He said that while this was the first time he had come across this particular scam, it was not unusual for businesses to get caught out by similar online fraudsters. 

"It just goes to show people have to be so careful with their dealings online. In this particular case, the money was taken from the man's bank account and there is really nothing that he can do about it," said Sgt Kelly. 

Ms Messinger pointed out that while it was important that the public was made aware of incidents like this, it was equally important they realise it will not put scammers off. 

"Once people are alerted to one scam, these operators will move on to the next one," she said. 

Sgt Kelly agreed, saying the people who perpetrate online scams were very clever and well practised in the art of deception, pointing out they have two main methods of operating. 

He said there were the opportunist scammers who might ring someone pretending to be from Microsoft and that they have identified a problem with their computer in order to get access to personal data held on the machine. 

In the more targeted scams callers may have a small bit of information on people and use this to convince them they are genuine. 

"The bottom line is that people need to exercise extreme caution when dealing online or with cold callers to ensure they do not fall victim to one of these scams," he said.