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scam alert Fraudsters using Covid-19 vaccine scam to con people in Germany are sending money to Irish bank accounts

The Irish-based people who received the money are now likely to be questioned by gardai.

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SCAM artists conning people out of money in Germany are sending the money to bank accounts in Ireland.

There have been a number of scams across Germany in recent months where con-artists have defrauded victims of sometimes tens of thousands of euro at a time and sent the money to bank accounts here.

The Irish-based people who received the money are now likely to be questioned by gardai.

Police in Straubing in Bavaria issued a warning about a scam where criminals have been calling people pretending to arrange Covid-19 vaccinations by phone.

They asked their victims for personal details, including bank account details. Police said one woman lost thousands in the scam and they have traced the money to a bank account in Ireland.

Police in Lower Bavaria say they have been aware of numerous people falling victim to the same scam and told the Sunday World there have also been other scams in the region recently in which money was also transferred to Ireland.

One was a “fake shop” scam where websites pretending to sell goods are set up to dupe people into giving their bank details.

“There were isolated cases of fraud involving so-called fake shops and Irish target accounts,” the Sunday World was told.

Other German regions are also seeing scam artists transfer money to Ireland.

In recent weeks a criminal posing as an employee of Microsoft was able to take thousands from a 34-year-old victim in Dornhan in the Black Forest region. Police said the criminal pretended to be able to remove a virus and conned his victim into installing software that allowed remote access to the victim’s laptop.

Several thousands of euro were transferred to an Irish bank account.

Another victim in Goslar in Lower Saxony lost tens of thousands of euro in a cryptocurrency trading scam.

The victim thought he was investing his cash with a legitimate business but was being scammed out his money, which was sent to bank accounts in Ireland and China.

The various scams show how globalised fraud has become in recent years and the role ‘money mules’ play in the international network.

A money mule is a person who allows their bank account to be used by criminals to transfer money into.

Gardai warned last month how they identified over 700 ‘money mules’ in Ireland over the past year with arrests made every day as fraud has dramatically increased during the pandemic.

Young people are usually targeted by the fraudsters with the average age of those identified in Ireland being 19. They are promised a payment for allowing their account to be used but because the money mules are easily identifiable to gardai they are caught.

In the past people used to fly into Ireland from other countries to set up bank accounts, making them harder to track down, but due to Covid travel restrictions Irish-based money mules are being increasingly used.

Gardai identified 53 money mules as part of one ongoing operation and found that €1.5m passed through their accounts.

The majority have already been arrested while others will be arrested soon.

Gardai have warned of long-lasting consequences for money mules including prison sentences of up to 14 years, problems getting foreign visas, the potential to be placed on terror watch lists as well as issues securing credit.


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