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Cash machine crooks tried to rob TD Simon

IRELAND'S youngest TD has called for a clampdown on ATM fraud after international criminals attempted to raid his bank account.

Wicklow Fine Gael TD Simon Harris will raise the issue, known as 'phishing', in the Dail next week after being contacted by worried businesses.

Mr Harris himself had his ATM card skimmed last year and has today urged the public to be extra vigilant.

He told the Herald: "I'm very much aware of the serious nature of this type of activity. It is being carried out by sophisticated criminals and there's certainly been a sharp rise in recent months," he said.

"I would tell anyone who is using an ATM to be vigilant, look around you when taking out money, and make sure you report any suspicions you have to the bank itself," he added.

The 26-year-old TD spoke today of his horror after learning that his ATM card was skimmed last year in the capital.

He said that although no money was taken, the "international element" of the crime was startling.

"My Laser card was skimmed when I was using an ATM and it emerged my personal data was taken and skimmed to Brazil.

"Thankfully my bank acted swiftly, notified me immediately, and was card was cancelled with no money taken."

The National Bureau of Investigation has been monitoring criminal gangs who attempt to steal Laser card details. The online criminals use a system that attempts to hack into bank accounts by using a random number selection process.

The Herald previously reported that gardai have noticed a spate of "phishing" raids in recent times. The phenomenon has been becoming more prevalent throughout the country, sparking a garda clampdown.