Key Post Simple steps YOU should take to avoid being scammed.



A day in the life of the (potential) fraud victim…
There goes the alarm clock…time to get up. The post has arrived, lots of letters on the mat. What’s this? A bill for a mobile phone, impossible, I don’t have a bill-phone. Ah, must be an error by the phone company, I am sure it will get sorted.
The credit card statement, I will have a look at it later. Sometimes I don’t even get around to opening them, and put them straight into recycling.
Log onto my pc, that’s strange, my bank log on is requesting that I input all digits of my PIN, and all of my security details, oh well I am sure that’s fine.
And look, an email from a solicitor telling me that my long lost aunt has left me a fortune. That’s great, all I have to do is send on my bank details and a cheque for €1000.00. No bother. Mind you, my parents always told me we had no rich relatives. Just shows they were wrong.
Now, let me see, where is my cheque-book? I always sign up a few cheques beforehand, saves time. Oh and the car that I advertised yesterday, here is a nice man wanting to buy it. Strange, my asking price was €10,000.00, he will send me €12500.00 and I can keep an extra grand for myself, and return the surplus to him. That’s very decent of him.
Fraud could never happen to me…or could it?

The following points (from the IBF publication on Fraud Prevention) show how we can prevent fraud, by taking some very simple steps.

Identity Fraud Clues
Ø You receive letters re debts which are not yours.
Ø You receive invoices for goods/ services you did not purchase.
Ø You are refused a financial service (e.g. a credit card) despite having a good credit history.
Ø You receive a mobile phone bill (or similar) of which you have no knowledge.
Simple steps to prevent identity theft and identity fraud
Ø Keep all valuable documents locked away safely.
Ø Shred receipts and utility bills.
Ø Never give your PIN to anyone.
Ø Advise service providers immediately if moving address.
Early detection is vital to prevent fraud
Ø Check your bank and credit card statements regularly.
Ø Report any suspicious/ fraudulent transaction immediately.
Ø When disposing of statements shred them.

Simple steps to prevent card fraud
Ø Always cover the keypad with your hand when entering your PIN.
Ø Keep your PIN safe.
Ø NEVER disclose the PIN to anyone.
Ø Do NOT write it down.
Ø Insist on being present while the card is being processed, do not allow the card out of your sight, for example, in a restaurant.
Ø Do NOT give your PIN in Internet or phone transactions.
Ø Consider whether you need to carry all cards with you, for example, if going on holidays.
Ø Keep unused cards safely locked away.

Simple steps to prevent cheque fraud
Ø Keep your cheque book in a safe place.
Ø Do NOT sign cheques in advance.
Ø Ensure that all issued cheques and unused cheque numbers are accounted for.
Ø Cross all cheques ‘a/c payee only’.

Simple steps to prevent ATM Fraud
Ø Be aware of your physical surroundings.
Ø Check that other people in the queue are at a reasonable distance.
Ø Shield your PIN with your hand to prevent hidden cameras or person from capturing your information.
Ø Never reveal your PIN to anyone.
Ø Use ATMs which are in clear view and well lit.
Ø Be careful of machines in dark areas or places that don’t appear to be well monitored.
Ø If suspicious, walk away.
Ø Observe the ATM
Ø Pay attention to anything such as an extra mirror on the face of the machine or extra signage.
Ø If the ATM appears to have anything stuck onto the card slot or keypad do not use it.
Ø Cancel the transaction and walk away.
Ø Notify the gardai/ police immediately.

Online Fraud

Phishing is a form of online fraud where fake emails or websites, supposedly from a legitimate company seek to obtain your confidential account details. This is done with a view to conducting illegal transactions on your account.
If you think you may be a victim of a phishing attack
Ø Notify the relevant financial institution
Ø Change your passwords immediately
Ø Notify the gardai/ police.

Ø Your bank will NEVER send you an email requesting your bank security details.
Ø You will only need your security details when logging onto your bank’s Internet banking service.
Ø Do not share your password with anyone.
Ø Be wary of clicking on links, they can lead to false sites.
Ø Review your credit card and bank statements regularly to reveal any problems or inconsistencies.

Ø Ensure that your pc is adequately protected.
Ø Install a reliable anti-spyware application.
Ø Activate a firewall.
Ø Be security conscious when surfing and downloading.
Ø Only download from sites you trust.
Ø Any unsolicited request for bank account information you receive through pop-up windows should be considered fraudulent and reported immediately.

Buying/ selling online
When selling high value goods over the Internet, be wary of cheques/ drafts received for a sum in excess of the agreed amount. Fraudsters may claim that this extra money is to pay a handling agent or to cover shipping costs.
Ø Do not transfer from your own account in order to refund the ‘surplus’ money.
Ø Do not release cash or goods until you are quite certain that the cheque or draft received by you has been paid.
Ø Bring such cheques or drafts to the attention of your bank before lodging.
Ø Report any fraudulent activity to your local Garda/ Police station.

Common types of fraud

Advance Fee Fraud
This type of fraud occurs where people are persuaded to advance sums of money in the hope of gaining a much larger sum. A variation on this is where an email puports to come from 'bank staff' who are trying to steal from dormant accounts.
Ø Do not respond to emails such as these.
Ø Report them to your internet service provider and to the gardai/ police.

Investment Fraud
This type of fraud occurs where people receive usually unsolicited emails offering them investment opportunities, such as shares that are ‘about to go through the roof’.
Ø Check if the company is properly authorised.
Ø Do not respond to high pressure tactics
Ø Get proper advice before investing
Ø Report any unsolicited approaches to the gardai/ police.

Fraud against the elderly
Elderly people may be particularly vulnerable to bogus door to door ‘tradesmen’ who offer to carry out work such as mending roof tiles/ guttering or decorating. On completing the ‘work’ they then demand exorbitant payment, sometimes even offering to drive the elderly person to the bank in order to withdraw money.
Ø Never leave strangers unsupervised in your home.
Ø Never engage a person who insists on cash for services.
Ø Never sign a blank form for any reason.

Money Mules
Fraudsters contact victims with ‘job vacancy’ ads on the internet, on job vacancy websites or on the papers. The only requirement for the job is for the victim to have a bank account. Once recruited, a ‘money mule’ receives stolen money into their account, followed by a request to forward the funds, minus their commission, usually overseas.
Ø Thoroughly research any work-from home job offer and do not get involved unless sure that it is legitimate.
Ø If a job sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Lottery Frauds
An email is received telling the receiver that they have won the lottery-no ticket purchase was necessary, according to the scammers. The victim is encouraged to pay a fee before the winning lottery cheque is handed over.
Ø Do NOT become involved or communicate with the scammers in any way.

And finally....
Counterfeit Bank Notes
Ø Familiarise yourself with some basic ways to check bank notes.
Ø The raised printing can be felt on all genuine notes.
Ø Hold the note against a light source, the denomination in the top left hand corner should be fully visible and perfectly formed.
Ø There is a security thread embedded in genuine notes.
Ø The security thread and water mark are visible when the note is held against a bright light source.
Ø The water mark is visible from front and back of the note.
Ø The water mark comprises the main architectural motif and the value numeral of the note.
Ø Do not rely totally on the effectiveness of a ‘counterfeit’ pen. Use it as a guide only.
Ø Do not rely on any one feature to assess if the note is genuine.
Ø If in doubt, refer to a financial institution.

Brendan Burgess


That is great. Thanks for that. I had looked at the IBF publication and I spent so much time scrolling down through logos of the Gardai and IPSO that I gave up before getting to the tips on what to do. You get it across at a glance.

Brendan Burgess

Be alert all the time.

I was in genuine correspondence with my bank, AIB, about some transactions. I spoke to them in the morning. In the afternoon they emailed me and I was just about to click on the link, when I thought...

This just happens to be a good timing scammer.

I was thinking AIB. I get an email from them. I respond.

I always wondered how people could be so stupid to respond, but my guard was completely down. And I could have been a very embarrassed poster boy for the IBF's campaign.



Garda alert on 'shoulder surfing' pin number scam

Here is an example of how easily this crime can be carried out. Please be aware-ALWAYS covering the PIN pad while entering your PIN is one of the simplest methods to defeat this crime. This case is just one of many in the papers over the past few weeks.

sam h

Frequent Poster
I've been in the shops a fair bit over the last few days & it always amazes me how many people don't cover the key pad when they key in their number. I got a clear view of so many numbers & I actually try NOT to look. There was one lady in M&S actually said the number as she keyed it in in clear view & then just dropped the wallet into her bag & left the bag wide open!!

- Cover the pad & check behind/around you to make sure nobody is looking
- If a pad is located too high, I alway ask for it to be taken down & put on the counter as it is very difficult to successfulkly cover a pad that is too high

Brendan Burgess

AIB online is now giving this urgent message

iBB Security Notice

Security Notice

AIB is aware that there has been an increase in the number of Trojan/Viruses being identified on our customers computers.

  • AIB will never email or phone you to ask for any private iBB User security credentials (User ID, Passphrase, or codes from your Digipass) or account details as part of a system upgrade.
  • The iBB system will NEVER ask you to delay or pause your activity. A message or pop-up window which asks you to do this may be evidence of identity theft activity.
  • Beware of pop-up messages requiring confirmation of security information or checking your security settings or if you notice anything suspicious when logging on to iBB.
Disclosure of this information can lead to identity theft. Never click on links inside emails or other (non websites purporting to link to iBB. This could be a dangerous spoof website.
If you do give away any security details or want to report any suspicious behaviour, please contact the iBB Operations Team on the number below and we can immediately temporarily disable your access to iBB.
Outside the Republic of Ireland :
Monday - Friday
1890 42 22 42
+353 1 7726619
08:00 - 18:00

Keep systems safe and secure:

  • Maintain effective, up-to-date anti-virus/malware and firewall software on any PC used to access iBB.
  • Keep PC systems and servers up to date with the latest security patches.
  • Have internal computer systems reviewed by an external security auditor or advisor.
For further information on staying safe online please click

Brendan Burgess

There was one lady in M&S actually said the number as she keyed it in in clear view & then just dropped the wallet into her bag & left the bag wide open!!
And she will onto Joe Duffy to say that there is no way anyone could have known her number.

I saw another woman taking out her phone at a bank link machine to check her pin number. But I suppose, if the phone was missing she would notice it fairly quickly.



Frequent Poster
I saw another woman taking out her phone at a bank link machine to check her pin number. But I suppose, if the phone was missing she would notice it fairly quickly.
About 5'6 blonde hair - probably the wife :eek:


Frequent Poster
The problem with the shoulder surfing is that there are usually 2 people doing it and it's tricky to block off both sides from view. My mother was one of the women who had her laser card stolen and a substantial amount was taken from her account.

On the one hand we have the Minister for Justice telling us that tiger kidnappings are the result of us not using cards and on the other when the card has been stolen and the number spotted the bank won't refund any money at all even though my mother wasn't careless and had covered one side of the pad. The supermarket where it happened have now put in pads with greater coverage on them, bit late for my mother.


Frequent Poster
I had post a few weeks ago, I asked my bank, what happens if my bank account goes to zero, will it still pay? I do not want an overdraft because I can transfer funds; the answer was that they cannot stop my account paying.
So if there is money taken fraudulently from my account they can run us in to minus quantities, surely it would be better for the bank to stop at zero.
On another point I do not understand why people use their cards for small amount, I use cash.


Frequent Poster
Received call this evening from someone stating they were from Meteor Customer Care.

When I expressed surprise at getting a call so late, I got a story about having to contact their customers before the systems were backed up.

Luckily this raised my suspicions & I suggested the caller give me a number and I would ring him back. He promptly hung up.

I reported the call to Meteor, but they didn't seem to be terribly concerned just trotted out the old line that they couldn't get private numbers (which is nonsense, they may not want the bother, but it can certainly be done).

Anyway, it was a new one on me, so thought I would post it here just in case.


There is also an increase of ATM fraud where they distract you once your pin is entered and then promptly take out 200 from your account.
Do not use ATM's on main thoroughfares where there are large volumes of traffic. Use ATM's on shops or in banking foyer where there is a less chance of these people hanging around. As stated above if you really need to use one, look around and see if anyone's hanging around. Once at the machine block any access to the buttons even if you are distracted, cover the buttons.


Frequent Poster
It baffles me how people can be so careless at ATMs. Your PIN number does not change unless you get a new card. I completely cover the number pad and dont need to look at the keys as they are in the same place they always were.

Surely its not too difficult to remember the position of each each key and not have to look?


Frequent Poster
In relation to the need to checking the statements, not helped of course by the drive towards e-statements [ and the paperless loo ], am aware at the moment where similar transactions are being posted on the same day the following month(s) from the location where a legitimate transaction was done. They are not duplicate transactions

I have 3 neighbours who regularly use the motorway system who have experienced this.
Reflecting on the gravity of the situation might bear fruit.


Frequent Poster
Here's another - check your bank statements regularly to ensure Direct Debit mandates have not been set up on your account without your authorization. I had 4 unauthorised withdrawals for payments to Vodafone for a service I don't have. VF informed me I set up the DD. I know I didn't. VF won't refund the money and my bank agreed to refund the two last withdrawals. I am waiting to hear what they plan to do about the earlier withdrawals. I hold them responsible as they should have a mechanism in place to check DD requests they get without the account holder's signature.

I have since learned that it is easy for anyone to set up a DD on your account. A BBC article had this to say: "When the people who the run the direct debit system were asked what information is required to set up a direct debit.

BACS replied in an email: "A direct debit (DD) can be set up when the correct combination of sort code and account number is passed to your bank. Your bank then allow the DD to be set up if they deem it to be legitimate.

"The BACS/direct debit system does not check who the owner of an account is (eg that the name on the paper form/electronic form matches that on the bank account) as the system does not have access to any bank accounts. It is something that your bank may check when we forward the details onto them."

Automated systems
Most direct debits are automated, with the firm taking the payment sending the customer's details electronically to the bank.

These paperless direct debits are authorised without a signature."

Anyone interested in the full article can google BBC News - Direct debit security criticised. Alarming how easy it is to defraud people of their money with the help of the banks and Clearing banks.
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Brendan Burgess

VF informed me I set up the DD. I know I didn't. VF won't refund the money and my bank agreed to refund the two last withdrawals.
Presumably Vodafone has some evidence that you set up the Direct Debit?

It must be linked to a particular phone number?

Why not sue them in the Small Claims Court? You should easily get your money back.

How far back do they go? It's a bit of a problem if you don't report the fraud for 4 months.


Gerry Canning

Frequent Poster
I got an e-mail purporting to be from BOI of unusual activity on my account.
This e-mail worries me,
It is a scam but logos etc were so so well done ,anyone could easily fall for it.
In this case it looks like they were phising for account references/numbers etc.

It was an excellent piece of scamming!



Frequent Poster
I received a text message from +353 (87) 091 4327 @ 10:37 this morning. It reads as follows: "Dear Customer! At Bank of Ireland, the security of your account is a priority. Please go to www_365online-mobile_com to confirm your mobile phone number." (web address altered to protect the innocent)

How do I know it's a scam? I was registered for 365 Online but never registered that particular phone number with them for phone or online banking.

Just so you know. Let's be careful out there!