Consumer information - Scams

What is a scam?

A scam is a scheme designed to con you out of your money or your personal details such as your bank account details, PIN numbers or internet banking login details. People can fall victim to a scam in a number of ways:

  • over the phone
  • by email, text or letter
  • on a false version of a real website
  • through social networking sites
  • at your front door or
  • on the street.

Scams can take many forms - fake lotteries, pyramid schemes, and other "get rich quick" deals, as well as phishing. The best way to protect yourself is to be aware of the different types of scams so that you can easily spot them.

How can I spot a scam?

There are a number of things to look out for, including:

  • The call, letter, e-mail or text has come out of the blue
  • You have won a prize but never entered a draw
  • You are asked for money up front to release your ‘win’
  • You are asked for your bank account, credit card details or other confidential information
  • You are told you must reply straight away or you will lose the winnings or refund

Always be wary of tempting offers and always use your common sense. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is! And if you do fall for a scam, don’t be embarrassed – act on it immediately.

What should you do if you have been caught out by a scam?

If you think you have been the victim of a scam or fraud and you have given someone your bank account or credit card information, inform your bank or credit card company immediately so they can tell you what action they need to take. This might include putting a stop to your account, cancelling your credit or debit card or stopping a transaction from going through your account.

You should also contact your local Garda station immediately.

Contact us and tell us about any scams you, your friends, families or colleagues have experienced. Building awareness about scams is the best way to put a stop to them.

If you were scammed somewhere else in Europe, tell the European Consumer Centre Ireland. You can also sign up to the European Consumer Centre’s monthly e-newsletter which warns Irish consumers about scams in Europe

And finally, you should let your friends and family know so they won’t get caught out.

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