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scam alert Public warning issued over new 'sophisticated' scam that steals PPS number and money

It is the latest fraud scheme after the public was warned of bogus callers offering to privately administer Covid jabs.

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THE Department of Social Protection has issued a warning over a sophisticated telephone scam that cons people into handing over sensitive financial information.

It is the latest fraud scheme after the public was warned of bogus callers offering to privately administer Covid jabs.

Officials yesterday said scam involves a customer being phoned by a person purporting to be a named official within the Department of Social Protection.

The scammer then claims that the person has had their PPS number compromised and asks for them to verify their name, PPS number and in some instances their bank account details.

It has been described as a "sophisticated scam" by the department.

"If a person is in any doubt, they should take the caller's name and phone the department's helpline number 1890 800 024," the department said yesterday.

Its helpline runs between 9am and 5pm on weekdays.

"Similarly, people who are managing social welfare applications online are reminded to ensure that they are using official departmental websites," it said.

"The department wishes to make it absolutely clear that we never request bank account or other financial institution account details from our customers by phone or SMS."

Earlier this year gardaí advised of a separate scam relating to the Covid-19 vaccine.

Gardaí said they had learned of members of the public having received fraudulent text messages and calls asking to confirm private and sensitive information such as PPS number, date of birth and address.

"Other people have received phone calls requesting they make an appointment for a Covid-19 vaccine jab at a random hospital," gardaí said.

"In most cases, the person receiving the call will say they are not in a position to travel to the hospital.

"This allows the caller to extract further details.

"Some individuals might confirm they live alone or reveal their home address.

"The caller will offer to come to their residence to administer a vaccine."

Gardaí said that vaccines are issued for free and are not available privately.

The HSE will not call or text looking for payment.


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