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Toy Show fans targeted by text fraudsters

RTE bosses have told Irish parents to ignore any text messages which promises them tickets to tomorrow night's Late Late Toy Show.

The broadcaster is investigating claims that UK-based criminals are attempting to cheat fans of the Toy Show, hosted by Ryan Tubridy, right, in a texting scam known as "phishing".

Text messages are being sent promising fans tickets to tomorrow night's Late Late Toy Show, asking them to ring a premium rate number to claim the tickets.

The message reads: "Congratulations you have won two tickets to the Late Late Toy Show", and then directs the receiver to the number which charges a minimum cost of €2.50 per minute.

Parents have been urged not to reply to the ticket hoax which is understood may include two million texts.

And in another attempt to cheat money, the texts direct the receiver to a site where they are told to pay a €20 fee to cover the delivery cost .

The scam was discovered by Irish cyber expert and threat adviser Paul C Dwyer who brought it to the attention of RTE bosses.

Mr Dwyer said that the gang are well aware that the Late Late Toy Show is an institution here and there is always a huge demand for tickets.

"These guys are planning a series of attacks over the coming weeks. The plan was to send close to two million text messages," he said.

"The bottom line is it was quite an unsophisticated plan. The surprise is the size and ambition of the plan."

Last year's Toy Show was the most watched show on Irish television in 17 years, raking in an average of 1.4million viewers.

RTE urged the public not to respond to these messages and said in a statement: "RTE wishes to make it clear that there are no tickets for the Late Late Toy Show available via text message and any such text messages are not from RTE."

The broadcaster operate a lottery system, which allocates tickets at random. Winners are contacted by a phone call or email.