Gardai are warning the public to be aware of a scam text, known as the ‘grandparent scam’, 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 person sending the text message 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 are advising the public to be wary of unsolicited text messages from unknown numbers.
Below is a sample of the texts that have been sent;
• 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 have been told to keep the story a secret.
• Do not send cash, gift cards or money transfers – once the fraudster receives the money, it’s gone.
• Trust your instincts.
The fraudster can also make contact via social media platforms using fake profiles.