Alert issued after increase in telephone scams in the area

By Mary Dennehy

AN ALERT has been issued after an increase in telephone scams has been recorded across Tallaght, with fraudsters not only seeking bank details but accessing mobile phones.

Last month, local gardai issued a warning through The Echo about a marked increase in the number of people being targeted by telephone scams in Tallaght, with members of the public advised to never give out bank details.

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Do not give out bank details over the phone

Speaking with The Echo at the time, Garda Sergeant Mark Redmond said that people are receiving calls from a person alleging to be from a service provider.

Over the past two weeks, reports of these phone scams have continued.

One Tallaght resident last week received a scam call from a person claiming to be from his broadband provider.

The resident told The Echo that his provider was doing upgrades in the area and had provided him with a new box only days before he received the scam call.

“[My broadband provider] was doing upgrades in the area and I got a legit call from the company,” he said.

“I accepted the upgrade and they sent me out a new box . . . then the [scam] call came along.

“They [scam caller] asked me for my mobile number to check the signal strength in my house.”

According to the resident, he was expecting to hear from his service provider due to the recent upgrade.

Once he gave out his mobile phone number, an app began to download on his phone and he was instructed to click a blue arrow – which appeared on the screen.

Once the blue arrow was clicked, the caller had access to his phone.

“At this stage they had my house phone and my mobile phone . . . and I bank online,” the resident said.

“They did ask me for my bank details . . . but I kept saying that I was not happy with the information they were looking for.”

As the call progressed, the resident got a feeling that something wasn’t right and hung up.

“I immediately rang my bank and asked them to stop my cards,” he said.

“The bank also advised me to contact the fraud squad.

“Thankfully they hadn’t got into my account . . . but the next day my daughter got two calls and my son-in-law got a call two days later.

“They were obviously working out of my phone.”

Warning others to be vigilant, the resident, who had to have his phone cleared and the app removed, said: “I’ve never had such a bad experience, I never thought I could get sucked in . . . it was brutal.

“I was lucky enough that I realised by the end of the call.”

"Worrying development"

Dublin South West TD Sean Crowe, who was contacted by this resident and others, has also alerted householders to the scam, describing the spike in fraudulent calls as a “worrying development”.

According to Deputy Crowe, fraudsters are gaining access to mobile phones and laptops, and “hacking and skimming the phone or computer for personal details including passwords and bank details.”

 “Unfortunately, when accessing the phone or computer they can get other names of individuals on your database and the cycle of fraud then continues on to someone else and new victims are targeted,” Deputy Crowe said.

Appealing to people to be vigilant and to never give out personal details, Deputy Crowe added: “Internet providers also have a responsibility to their customers and they should be making them fully aware of this practice and offering some useful advice.”

Deputy Crowe has also appealed to Garda authorities to “ramp up their fraud squad operations”.

The Echo has also been made of aware of people being contacted by a person claiming to be from Revenue, who is seeking a card number to issue a refund.

Report any suspicious or fraudulent calls to Tallaght Garda Station on 6666000.

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