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18 Jan 2022

Gardaí issue warning to people in Dundalk over Covid-19 test 'smishing' scam

Alert: Recent 'Smishing' scam from fraudsters purporting to be from Permanent TSB

Smishing scams - be very careful please

Gardaí have issued a warning to people in Dundalk over a recent text message or “smishing” scam, where fraudsters attempt to steal personal information with fake Covid-19 testing appointments.

Gardaí at the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) have warned of texts purporting to be from the HSE, advising people to book a Covid-19 test through a link.

According to the Gardaí, once someone clicks on a link, they’re brought to a fake website where fraudsters seek their personal information, including PPS numbers and payment for a Covid-19 test.

The links being supplied may look similar to genuine HSE links, but may have misspellings.

An example of a fraudulent text

Gardaí have said that the HSE will not seek payment for either Covid-19 testing or vaccination, and that the public should be wary about texts of that nature.

Other smishing scams currently operating include those purporting to be from banks, revenue, service providers or delivery companies.

On occasion, texts or messages from these fraudsters can appear alongside previous genuine texts, which can appear to give them authenticity.

Gardaí are asking people to follow their advice around smishing and other scams, which includes:

  • Never click on a link of an unsolicited text, email or respond to cold callers seeking personal information.
  • Do not use reply or call the number supplied by these texts.
  • Never give away personal data like PIN number, card numbers, passwords, one time codes, PPS numbers
  • The HSE will never text you seeking payment for Covid-19 tests or vaccines
  • If you have responded to such a text or paid the scammers, contact your bank immediately for a recall.
  • It is also important to report the matter to your local Garda Station.

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