Gardaí warn public of text scam advising people to book Covid test or vaccine appointment 2 months ago

Gardaí warn public of text scam advising people to book Covid test or vaccine appointment

Fraudsters are using the Covid-19 pandemic to defraud people, Gardaí have warned.

Gardaí have warned the public of a recent scam where people are receiving texts purporting to be from the HSE advising them to book a Covid-19 test or vaccine appointment through a link in the message.

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Once the person clicks on the link, they are brought to a cloned website where the fraudsters will seek their personal information, including their PPS number and payment for the Covid-19 test or vaccine.

In most instances, the supplied links look very similar to the authentic HSE URL but may be misspelled.

Detective Superintendent with the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) Catharina Gunne said: "Fraudsters are opportunistics and they are using the Covid pandemic, in particular the vaccine rollout, to defraud people."

In a statement, Gardaí said the HSE will never look for payment for Covid-19 tests or vaccinations and the public should be wary of such text messages.

"There are also other ‘smishing’ texts being received and these can purport to be from service providers, revenue, banks and/or delivery businesses. Some can fit into the threads of previously received genuine texts which adds an air of authenticity to them," a Garda spokesperson said.

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Gardaí's advice to the public is:

  • Never click on a link of an unsolicited text, email or respond to cold callers seeking personal information
  • Do not use, reply or call the number supplied by these texts
  • Never give away personal data like PIN numbers, card numbers, passwords, one time codes or PPS numbers
  • If you have responded to such a text or paid the scammers, contact your bank immediately for a recall
  • It is also important to report the matter to your local Garda Station.

An example picture of one of these scam texts is attached below.

Image via An Garda Síochána
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