With financial pressure increasing, some people turn to online loan sites, but as Sgt Ber Leetch warns, some of them scam money from people
Gardai have issued a warning over online loan sites preying on people this Christmas.
Financial pressures increase for most families at this time of year, and rightly or wrongly, with Christmas coming some people will resort to online loan sites.
Sgt Ber Leetch advised: “Great care must be taken to ensure that the online loan site is lawful. Some websites will be looking to take advantage of financially vulnerable people.
“What happens is that within minutes of the application the person is contacted and an advance fee is requested.
“Allegedly this is to prove that the applicant can afford their repayments but it’s a scam. The best advice I can give is to check out the list of authorised firms on the Central Bank of Ireland website before you apply for a loan online.”
Meanwhile An Garda Síochána and FraudSMART, a fraud awareness initiative led by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland, are warning consumers to be extremely cautious and alert to several new scams targeting people in the run up to Christmas.
Detective Chief Superintendent Patrick Lordan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) said that Gardaí were concerned at the growing number of new scams that are arising and the particular targeting of consumers as Christmas approaches.
Banking & Payments Federation Ireland Chief Executive, Brian Hayes said: "Fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated and innovative in their efforts to lure consumers to part with personal information. It’s crucial that consumers are aware of the scams that are in circulation and the advice to be followed in order to protect their finances and their bank accounts. FraudSMART, the BPFI’s fraud awareness initiative, is working with the Gardaí to make consumers aware of what’s happening at the moment and we’re advising them to visit our FraudSMART website www.fraudsmart.ie which provides advice on the key steps to proactively keep customers bank accounts and money safe”.
An Garda Síochána at GNECB and BPFI are advising consumers to be on the alert to text message, email or telephone call scams in which victims receive a text/email or call appearing to be from their bank asking them to for PERSONAL DETAILS or SECURITY INFORMATION designed to get unlawful access to bank accounts.
The text, email or telephone call will instruct the individual to go to a website or make a phone call to a specified number, after which personal information will be sought. To prompt urgent action by the victim the fraudster will create a fear that if the customer does not take immediate action their account will be compromised.
What to do: If a member of the public receives UNSOLICITED text messages, emails or telephone calls from their bank looking for this information, they must contact their bank and check the validity of the request and the security of the funds in their account. Do not use links received in the text or email to contact the bank and do not use telephone numbers supplied. Look up the number of the bank independently and contact them if there are any concerns.