There’s been a growing trend of unscrupulous fraudsters targeting multiple people across Ireland, with the latest one being the ‘phone scam where swindlers try to elicit money from unsuspecting members of the public.
Here’s how it works…the phone rings but doesn’t give you a chance to answer; you see a strange number that looks like it’s originated in Ireland, you call it back only to find you’re being charged up to €7 per minute; your ‘phone credit gets eaten up or a ridiculously high charge is added to your bill.
Now while anyone can fall prey to these hustlers, the sad fact is that someone who is elderly and vulnerable may think it’s a relative trying to get in touch and call the number back. And so, if you’re a senior citizen reading this, or you have an elderly family member/friend/neighbour, we’ve put together some advice we hope will help you stay ahead of these predatory crooks.
1: Don’t answer the ‘phone if you don’t recognise the number.
2: If you do answer an unknown number or a withheld number, and do not recognise the caller’s voice, hang up immediately.
3: Please be suspicious if you receive multiple calls from this number at unusual times of the day/night. (My own daughter received a series of calls between 2 am and 7 am from a number that looked suspicious; she didn’t answer but googled it the next day and found it originated in New Zealand. I told her to report it to ComReg, which she did and found out it was indeed part of a scam).
4: Never, ever call back if the caller leaves a blank voicemail.
5: Never ever provide personal information such as the fact you may live alone, your full address, your bank/credit card details, passwords or your RSI number. If you do happen to unsuspectingly provide credit card or bank details, check your next statement or call the bank and see if you’ve got the odd €1 or €5 charge being debited to your account. You see, while this is a very small amount, this is how the fraud starts…this is a test to see if the charges go unnoticed and if they do, then they go in for the kill and could clean out your account.
6: If you suspect you’ve been caught out, call your local garda station immediately and report it.
7: Call ComReg on Ph: 01-8049668 and report it.
Remember, a swindler is a practised, conniving and convincing liar who’ll ruthlessly use every trick at their disposal to con you, so please don’t feel silly if you get lured in and duped by these reprobates; it could happen to any one of us; however, if you follow our guidelines, perhaps you can stay one step ahead.