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Garda warn public of smishing scam impersonating ‘close contact’ COVID texts from HSE

Garda have advised the public to be wary of any similar text messages
Clodagh Meaney

Garda have warned the public of a smishing scam impersonating the HSE.

The text message, purporting to be from the HSE states “You have been in close contact with someone who has contracted the Omicron Variant.”

The message then asks the recipient to visit a malicious website to order a PCR testing Kit.

The term 'smishing' is a combination of the communication means used in the scam - SMS - and 'phishing', the term used to describe the criminal act of trying to extract banking and personal details from a victim by purporting to be representing a reputable company.

An Garda Siochána has issued a warning to the public of the 'smishing' scam that is circulating recently that is impersonating a message from the HSE.

The link then directs to a website that looks legitimate and is similar to the HSE website.

People are then presented with an information page, which has a booking option at the end.

Upon selecting ‘Book Now’, targets of the scam will be directed to a personal details page that asks to fill in private information and select ‘Continue’, before being taken to the next page.

This page reads: “We require a payment of €2.29 to deliver your test order kit” and will ask for billing information.

Garda have warned that the HSE will never seek any form of payment for providing Covid tests, testing kits or vaccination.

A spokesperson for An Garda Siochána advised the public to be wary of any such text messages.

“Never give away personal data like your PIN, card numbers and passwords,” they said.

“If you have been a victim and lost money, immediately contact your bank to do a recall and always report the matter to the Gardaí.”

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