sheer cheek  | 

Brazen cyber criminals target Garda Credit Union in Ed Sheeran ticket scam

The potential victims were told they had won two tickets to an Ed Sheeran gig

Singer Ed Sheeran singing at his Concert in Croke Park tonight. Photo: Leah Farrell/

Patrick O'Connell

BRAZEN cyber criminals  targeted the Garda Credit Union by sending members a message requesting they sign in to claim a prize of two tickets to Ed Sheeran.

St Paul's Garda Credit Union in Ballintemple, Cork issued a warning to garda members advising them of the scam.

In a member notice, it warned: "St Paul's Garda Credit Union are aware that some members may have received messages like this one from a fake St Paul's account.

"We would like to remind members that we will never ask members to click a link and enter personal information on social media."

In the badly worded message sent by the fake account, members were told: "You win a 2 tickets to Ed Sheeran's Thomond Park Concert on Thursday May 5th!!

"Please complete the registration form below. Thank you!"

The real St Paul's Garda Credit Union advised members who received the message to block and report the account.

The scam targeting garda members is one of dozens rolled out each week on the internet by scammers but this is thought to be the first to have specifically targeted gardai.

In February, gardai warned the public of the increasing prevalence of such scams which see fraudsters pose as reputable companies.

The scams can roughly be divided into three categories: vishing; smishing and phishing.

Vishing refers to fraudulent phone calls and smishing covers fraudulent texts.

Phishing may also not be an overly familiar term but it involves the sending of fraudulent emails.

There was an 111 per cent increase in overall fraud offences in 2021 with a whopping 370 per cent increase in fraud related crimes of vishing/smishing/phishing.

In the February warning, gardai urged people to stop and think before clicking a link, even if it looks like it may be from a reputable company.

They warned that people should be particularly wary of unsolicited calls, texts and emails.

Fraudsters often pose as banks or other financial institutions, invite you to a link that brings you to a cloned website and ask for your PIN.

They might also look for other personal data like your address, date of birth or PPS number in order to steal your data.

Gardai warned the public to never give away personal data such as bank account details, PIN, credit card numbers, passwords, one-time codes, PPS numbers and Eircodes.

Victims of these scams should change their passwords and report the crime to gardaí and their bank.

One person in Killarney had €10,000 removed from their account last year due to one of these scams with gardai convicting the cyber criminal.

It is vital that members of the public act quickly if they fall victim to one of these elaborate victims, gardai said.

  • Vishing - Calls

l Be wary of cold calls received. Ask the caller their name, their phone number and if you are concerned hang up and ring your bank/service provider from a number advertised in a phone book, on your bill or from a Google search. l Just because the number looks Irish does not mean it is - fraudsters use VOIP and spoofed numbers. l Never act on advice received or instructions from a cold caller. l Never give away personal data like bank account details, PIN numbers, credit card numbers, passwords, one time codes, PPS numbers or Eircodes. l Never download any apps as these allow the fraudster to take control of your device. l Be aware that State bodies including the Revenue Commissioners will not ring you to advise that you are under investigation. l Do not transfer money in any way. l Before taking any action, seek advice from a trusted person.

  • Smishing - Texts

l Be wary of such texts even if they are contained within the thread of previous genuine texts from banks. l Never click on links - by doing so you are accessing cloned websites. l If you're expecting a delivery and receive such a text, be very careful. l Banking institutions will never send a text containing a link.

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