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Gardai warn public of courier 'customs fee' text and email scam

Anyone who believes they have been a victim of fraud is asked to report the matter to their local Garda station.
(Stock photo)

(Stock photo)

Brendan Fernando Kelly Palenque

Gardai are urging online shoppers to watch out for a courier payment scam.

Gardai issued an alert to the public about the potential risk to their personal and payment data after being made aware of a scam where emails and texts are sent out under the branding of various courier companies.

These emails and texts ask the recipient to pay an additional fee in order for their package to go through customs clearance and finally be delivered.

There have even been some instances where these fake messages were circulated in Irish.

Officers are advising the public not to provide any payment details. Instead, people should take a screenshot of the text or email, and then delete it.

Anyone who believes they have been a victim of fraud is asked to report the matter to their local Garda station.

Many of these scams are also taking advantage of Brexit. The UK finally left the EU this month, and as a result there are slightly different rules around deliveries from the UK to Ireland.

The current uncertainty around what effect Brexit has had is being used to cause confusion and defraud people.

Gardaí said that anyone who has received an unsolicited message and is awaiting a package should first independently check the status of their delivery with the relevant postal service or courier.

It’s important to never open attachments in an unsolicited email, and ensure that any computer being used has the most up-to-date antivirus software.

Some scams involve telling people they’ve won some sort of prize. Detective Superintendent Michael Cryan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said it’s important to think critically about these messages.

“Be careful, do your research, don’t rush in, ask yourself ‘why me’?” he said. “Why am I getting this great offer? and if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.”

Gardai also advise using a trusted website when purchasing products online, and check their refunds policy. Additionally, never use public Wi-Fi when making payments - use 3G or 4G on your phone instead if absolutely necessary.

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