Scams target people of all ages and backgrounds. Scams are about tricking you into parting with your money and are becoming more and more sophisticated and difficult to spot. Sadly, during the coronavirus pandemic, fraud and other scams are increasing.
Gardaí have issued a warning in relation to a number of COVID-19 related scams. Examples include:
- Online shopping scams involving sought-after items like face masks and hand sanitiser
- People calling to your house offering services in relation to Covid-19, including services for medically-related tests
- Phising emails with an attachment claiming to contain vital information about the virus and prompting you to open the attachment
- Hoax websites asking you to make a donation to a fake charity supporting a coronavirus cause
How can I protect myself?
There are things you can do to protect yourself from scams. You should:
- Know who you are dealing with: Research the company to make sure it is a legitimate business or charity
- Be alert for suspicious behaviour: Be aware of offers that seem too good to be true. Check the website is secure by looking for a closed security padlock symbol in the browser window bar. Don’t click or download anything you don’t trust.
- Protect your personal information: Don’t give out any personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call. Don’t give out personal information in an email or when chatting online.
- Protect your money: Never send money by bank transfer unless you are absolutely certain you are sending it to someone you know and trust. Sending money by bank transfer is like sending someone cash and generally once you send it, it’s gone. Always use a secure method of payment such as credit card, debit card or other payment services such as PayPal (that offer a payment protection scheme). You can ask your bank or card provider to reverse the transaction through a process called chargeback.
The CCPC has more advice about how to watch out for scams.
The CCPC publish regular consumer warnings about misleading or fraudulent websites.