Farmers advised to be on guard for new scams

FARMERS and their families have been advised to be ‘extra vigilant’ as regards an alarming increase in online scams over recent months.

The fraudsters are increasingly using service suppliers to supposedly notify customers that they are in arrears and then telling them to click onto a link to pay the ‘outstanding balance’.

Tens of thousands of people across the country have been receiving fake messages purporting to be from the eFlow body in charge of road toll charges.

The aim of the fraudsters is to get access to your bank or credit card account details and then to take money electronically from them.

IFA National Farm Business Chair, Rose Mary McDonagh, advised farmers never to reply to unsolicited texts, calls or emails.

She added that the latest data from the Gardaí showed a 560% increase in the number of bank accounts ‘taken over’ by fraudsters since before the start of the pandemic in early 2020.

“This is a hugely concerning development and farm families really do need to be aware of so-called phishing frauds, where the victim inadvertently reveals sensitive bank details.

“An Garda Síochána have to be fully resourced to catch and stop these fraudsters while financial institutions should assess their systems to have them as robust as possible to deter fraudsters,” she said.

Earlier this month, research published by Technological University Dublin (TUD), found that more than half of 1,330 farmers surveyed across the country had been the victim of farm thefts.

While 71% of farmers reported such thefts to the Gardaí, 29% of them did not because they felt the incident wasn’t serious enough; or there would be insufficient evidence; or that the police would not do anything about it.

“Many victims of crime do not report it. If the true extent of crime and victimisation against the farming community is to be understood, then all victims should be encouraged to report the incident to An Garda Síochána,” said report co-author Dr. Nicola Hughes of TUD.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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