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Be careful not to lose money while shopping online; four out of five people in Ireland have been targeted by fraudsters – AIB warns

DUBLIN: AIB, one of the largest commercial banks in Ireland, has warned users to be aware of the signs of fraud in order to protect their money. The warning comes after four out of five people in Ireland were found to have been targeted by fraudsters via text, phone or email last year.

The main target of fraudsters is those over 55 years of age. Eighty-five percent of people over the age of 55 reported receiving some form of fraudulent communication in the past 12 months. However, AIB says consumers of all ages are at risk. According to the bank, 80% of people aged 18-34 received a fraudulent communication last year.

Banking industry data reveals that the fraudulent loss of Irish customers on credit and debit cards last year amounted to around €22 million, as a result of fraudsters trying to take advantage of the increased online shopping activity of people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“More people are shopping or making payments online as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions, and fraudsters have seized on this opportunity to send consumers fraudulent messages,” said Sean Jevens, head of digital engagement at AIB.

AIB research shows that 98% of people do not respond to fraud communications, 63% ignore the message, 16% report it to their bank, and 11% show it to a family member to check whether it was real or not. At the same time, 2% responded that they believe the messages are genuine.

Meanwhile, 86% of people believe that their bank will never send a link. 77% of people know that fraud messages can appear in real messages from their bank using a method known as ‘smishing’.

Research by Irish Market Research and Data Specialists, Amarak, also found that one third of Irish people received false communications from a bank or financial institution to which they did not belong. The research found that while 30% received a fake text, phone call or email claiming to be from a technology company, 22% received a fraudulent text saying to be from the Revenue Commissioners.

Sean Jevens said that: “People can follow simple steps to ensure they are not the victim of fraud, including not clicking any links that may appear to come from their bank, hanging up on any calls they think are not genuine and ringing back a number only after checking it aligns with the number on the organisation’s website.”

“Customers should never share their passwords, login details or one time pass codes with anyone, even their bank. For more tips on how people can protect themselves, please visit www.aib.ie/security-centre and together we can all help prevent fraud,” Mr. Jevens added.

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