Courier text scam

With shops closed in lockdown 3.0, shopping online is now busier than ever, even if it is more complicated due to Brexit.

As a result, scammers are trying to cash in on all these online transactions.

Irish Country Living has become aware of readers receiving emails and text claiming to be from one of the popular courier companies, complete with very convincing branding.

The text is asking the consumer to pay an additional cost for customs to clear their parcel. Usually this amount isn’t much, 99c or €1.99.

As many consumers are confused about what charges apply these days with Brexit, they are clicking on the link and the scammers are getting access to their bank accounts.

Consumers are being asked to screenshot these texts and report them to their nearest Garda station.

Vaccine phone scam

Another worrying scam that is targeting the elderly in our community is related to the COVID-19 vaccine.

People, and often older people, are receiving phone calls asking them to make an appointment to attend the hospital for their vaccination.

However, if the person says they cannot attend, the caller uses this opportunity to get more information from them such as where they live, if they live alone and when the house might be unoccupied.

Sometimes they are offering to come to the person’s house to administer the vaccine.

In other instances, texts are circulating relating to the vaccine looking for people to confirm private and sensitive information, such as their PPS number, date of birth and address.

The HSE will never text or call individuals requesting personal information and they will never request payment for a COVID test or vaccine.

Your local GP will be the first point of contact about vaccination or COVID testing.

Whatsapp cons

Another scam that is also doing the rounds is via Whatsapp.

People are receiving a simple SMS from a friend saying they sent them a six-digit code by mistake and can they send it back urgently.

However, sending this code back is giving the scammer access to your Whatsapp, blocking you out of your phone and giving them access to your contacts, who they then can go on to scam.

It’s a very simple scam, but these are often the most effective for tricking people.