An Garda Síochána has warned the public to be aware of a new text scam alert, called the ‘grandparent scam’.
According to a statement from An Garda Síochána, this is “where members of the public receive a random text message purporting to be from a family member stating that they require financial help or are in some sort of trouble which needs to be kept secret”.
The statement adds that the person sending the SMS will pretend to be:
- A family member (son/ daughter/ sibling/ grandchild) who has lost their phone and is making contact on a new phone number;
- They are usually based in a foreign jurisdiction;
- The fraudulent text will state they require urgent financial assistance. For example, to pay an urgent medical bill or fine;
- The victim of this fraud will then make a direct payment to the fraudster’s account.
An Garda Síochána advises the public to be wary of unsolicited text messages from unknown numbers.
It has offered the following advice:
- Do not volunteer information as fraudsters are known to ‘fish’ for facts which they then use to make themselves sound more credible;
- Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is;
- Verify the person’s identity – ask questions that a stranger couldn’t possibly answer. Call a family member to verify if someone is operating under a different number even if you are told to keep the story a secret;
- Do not send cash, gift cards or money transfers – once the fraudster receives the money, it is gone;
- Trust your instincts;
The fraudster can also be made via social media platforms using fake profiles.
Earlier this week, An Garda Síochána warned the public about the rise of a new crime called bank ‘jugging’.
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