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Gardai warns people to be wary of cyber criminals and recommends countermeasures

DUBLIN: Gardai warns people to be vigilant against cyber criminals. The alert comes in the wake of the recent cyber-attack on HSE. There were concerns that personal and medical information of people could be leaked online following the attack. However, Gardai said there is no indication that any stolen data from the HSE computer system was published online. They also advised people who think they are victims of HSE-related cyber-attack to report to their local Garda station.

Cyber ​​scams via phone, text and email are widely reported across the country. Gardai explains that scammers are stealing people’s personal information and bank account details.

There were also cases of fraudsters posing as employees of the HSE, the Social Welfare Department, and other government agencies in order to deceive the public. An Garda Síochána reminded that neither the HSE nor the Department of Social Welfare will ask for people’s personal information for any reason.

“An Garda Síochána continues to advise people that An Garda Síochána, the Health Service Executive (HSE), the Department of Social Welfare or other state agencies will not cold call a person looking for personal information such as Date of Birth, PPS numbers or bank account details,” a garda spokesman said.

Gardai also exposed the common fraudulent practices of online criminals. These include:

• Underpayment/ Overpayment for some goods or service

• Eligibility for a refund or Social Welfare payment

• Being investigated in relation to criminal activity

• Possible leak of Personal Information

Gardai said online fraudsters are also using a wide range of common electronic means to contact random persons. This includes automated phone calls, texts and emails with generalised information. “These communications do not use any unique personal information but rely on the current fear and concern amongst members of the public,” spokesman said.

The garda spokesperson added: “The current automated phone call scams may appear to emanate from official/ authentic numbers and have included State offices including allegedly from Garda Síochána numbers.

“If you engage with these callers, during a conversation they may elicit information from you and then use that information to suggest they were already in possession of it, gaining your confidence.

To verify the authenticity of the call, please contact only the numbers advertised by the concerned organization/ agency/ company.

Things to keep in mind when receiving such bogus calls:

• Do not engage with the caller

• Do not press 1 etc…

• Do not click on any links in emails or text messages

• Do not download APPs / remote access software

• Do not send them money

• Do not withdraw money and lodge it into cryptocurrency ATMs

• If someone calls to your home, do not let them in without seeing Identification – if it doubt ring local station or 999

• Screenshot the email, text message or other communications

An Garda Síochána also reminds people to contact the Local Garda station in all situations.

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