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Galwegians fall victim to online scammers


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Galwegians fall victim to online scammers Galwegians fall victim to online scammers

An increasing number of Galway residents are falling victim to sophisticated online and phone scammers.

At a meeting of the County Joint Policing Committee (JPC), it was revealed that there had been a 38% jump in the number of Galway residents reporting incidents of ‘vishing, smishing and phishing’ to gardaí.

Many of these offences related to scam texts and emails, the meeting heard, as unsuspecting phone users clicked on links purporting to have come from legitimate businesses or institutions.

Chief Data Analyst in the Galway Garda Division, Olivia Maher, said nobody was isolated from cyber crime and reiterated garda advice for the public to remain vigilant.

“You are as likely to be a victim of cyber crime in the most rural part of Ireland as you are anywhere else – it affects anyone who is connected to the internet.

“Some of the phishing, vishing and smishing scams are very sophisticated. We continue to build awareness about not responding or clicking on any links,” said Ms Maher.

The number of cases of investment fraud increased significantly, too, in 2023, rising from fewer than 10 in the previous year to 16 last year.

Chief Superintendent Gerry Roche said some of the amounts of money involved in these cases were “extraordinary”.

“Investigating these cases can be very difficult – the money can go out foreign and be very difficult to trace.

“We are asking people to be very vigilant, particularly with emails or messages coming to your mobile,” he said.

Figures released to the JPC showed there had been a decline in the rate of account take-over fraud, falling from 56 cases in 2022 to 41 in 2023.

There was a significant decline in the level of card fraud in the same period, falling from 56 to 41 over the 12 months.

Cases of shopping or online auction fraud fell marginally, from 27 cases to 25.

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