Sneaky scams that could trick you into part­ing with thou­sands

Fraud­sters are scan­ning the in­ter­net and so­cial me­dia for in­for­ma­tion that helps them to iden­tify tar­gets, writes Louise Mcbride

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE -

FRAUD­STERS are trick­ing Ir­ish peo­ple into part­ing with thou­sands of euro — some­times tens of thou­sands — ,while some Ir­ish busi­nesses have been stung for hun­dreds of thou­sands. The grow­ing so­phis­ti­ca­tion of fraud­sters mean scams have be­come harder to spot, and there­fore eas­ier to fall for. Tech­nol­ogy too is arm­ing con­men with the in­for­ma­tion they need to cre­ate con­vinc­ing scams.

“Fraud­sters use so­cial me­dia and the in­ter­net to get pub­licly avail­able in­for­ma­tion about you — so that they can build up a sense of trust when they con­tact you,” said Ni­amh Daven­port, fraud aware­ness and pay­ment man­ager with the Bank­ing and Pay­ments Fed­er­a­tion of Ireland (BPFI). “Tele­phone scams are becoming more so­phis­ti­cated. There will be call cen­tre noises in the back­ground. If a fraud­ster rings pre­tend­ing to be your bank, he will be aware of the word­ing used by banks and will use that lan­guage in the call.”

In some cases, mil­lions of euro have been lost to scams. “Fraud­sters re­search their client and know their tar­get — so what­ever kind of pay­ment may seem plau­si­ble to an in­di­vid­ual is the pay­ment that’s sought,” said Pa­trick D’arcy, a for­mer garda who has worked with the Garda Fraud Squad and who is now a di­rec­tor of foren­sic and in­ves­ti­ga­tion ser­vices with Grant Thorn­ton.

“If the fraud­ster is tar­get­ing a wealthy in­di­vid­ual or com­pany, he could be sug­gest­ing a pay­ment of €10,000 or €20,000. Some pay­ments sought can be into the mil­lions.”

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