Know your rights: How to deal with scams

I clicked on a link in a text message that turned out to be a scam. What should I do next?

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. During the busy Christmas season, fraud and other scams are increasing.

If you suspect you’ve been scammed you should act immediately:

  • Stop all contact with the scammer
  • Do not send any more payments
  • If you paid by credit or debit card, tell your bank or card provider immediately
  • Report the incident to your local Garda station –scamming is a criminal matter
  • Gather any records you have about the scam (emails or other communications)
  • Protect your devices by resetting your passwords and update your anti-virus software
  • Report the incident to consumer protection agencies such as the CPCC, for advice and to help stop other people being caught in the same scam

You may be able to get your money back depending on what happened and how you paid the scammer.

You may get your money back if you:

  • Notice money has been taken from your account without your authorisation, and you contact your bank immediately.  In most circumstances, your bank must refund you for an unauthorised payment.
  • Bought something from a scammer with your debit card, credit card or PayPal. You can ask your bank or credit provider to reverse the transaction through a process known as a chargeback.

It’s unlikely you will get your money back if you:

  • Paid by bank transfer. It can be harder to get money back, but the sooner you contact your bank the better.
  • Paid by money transfer services such as MoneyGram, PayPoint or Western Union.
  • Paid by vouchers or gift card

To protect yourself in future, you should not share your personal information if you don’t know who you are dealing with.  Trust your instinct and always ask yourself ‘is it safe?’

You can read more about how to protect yourself from scams on citizensinformation.ie. We also have information on new scam warnings.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

A limited number of appointments are being made in Citizens Information Centres offices where social distancing can be facilitated. You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.