Gangs rob 300 bank accounts in email scam
Almost 300 people have been the victims of fraudsters who have used phishing e-mails to steal money from their account this year in Ireland, a senior detective has revealed.
In an interview with the Herald, Detective Sergeant Matt Sheridan of the garda fraud squad, revealed that victims have had sums from as much as €40,000 to as little as €100 stolen.
Gardai say they are getting daily reports about money being stolen from bank accounts.
The gangs send emails to victims pretending to be from banks or financial institutions requesting personal information – when passwords and account details are handed over, the criminals are able to clear out their victim's bank accounts.
Officers from the Garda National Bureau of Fraud Investigation are co-ordinating a nationwide investigation into the international scam and have now launched a public appeal about the growing crime
Det Sgt Sheridan said: "Criminal organisations are sending these emails purporting to be from a bank requesting customers to login with all their details including passwords, security codes and mobile numbers.
"This web page will have the appearance of your bank's webpage but it will be one created by the criminals."
Already this year, gardai have made dozens of arrests in relation to the lucrative scam.
A number of Irish criminals are now working with foreign gangs who are mostly based in eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.
Det Sgt Sheridan pointed out that gardai are working with their colleagues in Europol and that a number of people are already before the courts here for this type of activity.
Once a victim is scammed, the cash is stolen from their accounts and then transferred to 'mule' accounts. The criminals who operate the 'mule' accounts here are usually Irish nationals, investigations have established.
"We have discovered that some Irish people have been foolish enough to sell on their bank account details to the gangs which are then used as 'mule' accounts," Sgt Sheridan explained.
Ultimately, gardai point out that banks do not send emails asking for passwords or account details.