Welcome to International Fraud Awareness Week; here is advice on safeguarding you against fraud.
Criminals can use fake advertising and websites to lure you into providing your debit card information. Once you have entered your debit card details to authenticate a purchase or provided a One Time Passcode (OTP) to complete the payment, the fraudster / fake website has stolen your card details and can spend your hard-earned money. Here are some tips for recognising when a website isn’t all it may seem and how to keep your debit card details safe online.
Spotting Fake online retailers
Look for a ‘padlock’ symbol in the address bar or browser; this normally indicates the site is encrypted, so your activity can’t be intercepted.
This should be combined with other checks as fraudsters can copy or buy these padlocks, so it isn’t a guarantee the website is safe.
Look closely at websites before you use your Debit Card
- Are there any grammar or typo errors?
- Have they a registered business address?
- Have they a good returns policy?
- Are there positive Google reviews or other online forums?
If anything looks unusual, DO NOT purchase from them!
Review the social media & contact information:
- Are there genuine followings and legitimate posts?
- Do they provide a physical phone number and email address? Try a quick call to test the customer service to see if the company exists by speaking with a representative; if possible, send an email, automated response, or bounce back? Be aware if you receive an automated response or bounce back, be on alert this may be a fraudulent website.
KEY ADVICE: ENSURE you use trusted websites when shopping or transacting online. If the price is too good to be true, trust your instincts; it’s likely to be a scam!
Dear Mum/Dad Scam,
Fake SMS or WhatsApp messaging is often called the ‘Dear Mum/Dad Scam.’ This scam involves fraudsters posing as family members to manipulate victims into transferring money. Parents are targeted by criminals pretending to be one of their children, saying they are texting from a new number as their phone has been lost or damaged. They typically begin the conversation with “Hello Mum” or “Hello Dad” and then ask for their parents to transfer money urgently as they need to buy a new phone or pay a bill. Typically, the conversation on WhatsApp, or via text message is started by an automated bot and then forwarded to a human who can communicate with the victim if they engage. Some conversations can go on over several days because they believe that, if they can really dupe those people, it might be worth it!!
Impersonating family members is a new tactic by criminals to undermine people’s mental safeguards against being defrauded. These scammers believe if you can add the psychological element into a scam, they work far better than the previously used phishing emails which were issued in bulk to numerous people at the one time. Please be aware It is easy for criminals to obtain a database of names, phone numbers, and dates of birth through the dark web and social media channels. WhatsApp is designed to protect people from unwanted contact, so whenever you get a message from someone who isn’t in your contacts, it should ask if you want to block or report them.
KEY ADVICE: DON’T respond to messages or urgent payment requests from unknown numbers claiming to be family members. If in doubt, speak directly with the family member to validate the request before taking any further action.
Fake SMS/Text message/Email Links
Smishing is the attempt by fraudsters to trick you into handing over personal information such as your Credit Union details, usernames, or passwords by clicking on a link they have sent you via SMS, WhatsApp, or email. The Fraudulent communication pretends to be from a trustworthy source, such as your Credit Union, and the information they gain can then be used to access your Current Account, or Debit Cards or Online Banking account.
The criminal typically sends thousands of generic SMS messages to people whose phone numbers have been obtained from an unknown source, hoping to get a ‘hit.’ These SMS Messages tend to have generic greetings such as “Dear Customer” or “Account Holder”. In some cases, a tactic called “spear phishing” is used. In these cases, the fraudster has some details about you (frequently sourced through social media). It may use your name or some other specific detail about you in the email.
KEY ADVICE: DON’T EVER respond to messages or urgent payment requests claiming to be from legitimate services like Your Credit Union, An Post, EFlow, DHL & Amazon. If in doubt, speak directly to the service provider to validate the request before taking any further action.
Money Muling is a type of Money Laundering where a ‘money mule’ transfers or moves illegally acquired money on behalf of someone else.
Criminals recruit money mules to help launder proceeds derived from online scams and frauds or crimes like human trafficking and drug trafficking. The Money Mule will typically:
• Receive money from a third party into their bank account.
• Be instructed to transfer it to another account/person or take it out in cash.
• Give it to someone else, obtaining a commission for facilitating the transaction.
Money mules are typically recruited through social media in what appears to be a friendly approach by the criminal, offering ‘easy’ money in return for something that seems as simple as opening a new current account on behalf of the criminal or using their own current account to lodge or transfer money.
While money Muling might initially appear to be an easy fix for those who are struggling financially or want to make some extra money, everybody, especially young people, need to be aware that money Muling is effectively money laundering and, therefore a criminal offence.
The consequences of becoming involved in Money Muling are severe!
· Anyone who is recruited as a money mule can be threatened with violence or physically attacked if they do not continue to allow their account to be used by the criminals to transfer money.
· As well as having a criminal record, money mules who are caught face having their current account closed and will have difficulty opening another account and accessing loans or other credit facilities in the future.
KEY ADVICE: NEVER EVER agree to open a Current Account in your own name for the purpose of receiving incoming payments on behalf of someone else. IGNORE requests to earn ‘Easy Money’ and AVOID Anyone who wants you to use your ‘own account’ for transactions.
If you believe you have been victim of any of the above or if you have any concerns regarding your Current Account or Debit Card activity, contact your us on +353 91 23909 or Credit Union Card Services on +353(1)6933333.
For more information, please visit https://currentaccount.ie/support/card-safety-guidelines/