A victim of identity theft, whose driving licence is allegedly being used as part of an intricate scamming operation on social media, says he does not want any more people to be robbed.
Conor Gleeson (27), from Navan, Co Meath, has been made aware of at least two fraudulent incidents in Ireland, and one in Scotland, in which his identification was used. There was also an attempted scam in Glasgow using his licence.
Speaking from France, where he is currently working at a ski resort, Mr Gleeson said he believes his licence was copied without his knowledge when two men came to his house last November to buy a laptop he had offered for sale on Facebook Marketplace.
“I had been living in Dublin for the last few years and I was going to work in a ski resort and go on travelling so I was selling a few bits off, like my car and laptop,” he said.
The two men arrived at his house to look at the laptop and said they had arranged a €950 bank transfer.
“They showed me the receipt of transfer on this app that I’d never seen before. The balance showed the €950 leaving the account and it had my name and IBAN, but I just didn’t know the app so I told the guys I wouldn’t part with the laptop until the money was in my account.
“They seemed a bit tetchy but they said okay and left without the laptop. The money never arrived in my account, needless to say.
“However, my driver’s licence and a few cards were near the laptop, which is totally my fault. As far as I can make out, they must have taken a picture of the licence at that time.”
Mr Gleeson said that his documentation has been used in several incidents in which scammers turn up to buy a product, introducing themselves using his name and providing his home address from his licence. The scammer does a bank transfer through a fraudulent app and leaves with the product. The money does not subsequently arrive into the seller’s account.
A number of weeks ago, a friend of Mr Gleeson’s contacted him in France to make him aware of a post warning of a scam, which contained his details and was being circulated on Facebook. The fraudsters had used the same app to scam a man out of a watch.
“My stomach sank right away when I realised what had happened. I got straight on to the man and explained and he understood that I was just as much a victim in all of this.
“Then a few weeks later, contact was made by Drogheda gardaí where another similar scam was reported, again with my details.”
Two subsequent incidents were reported in Scotland. In one, a couple who became suspicious of the app the fraudsters were attempting to use found Mr Gleeson – whose copied licence they had been shown – through social media.
The Navan man has now changed his social media profile picture to his driving licence to try alert people to what is happening.
“I want to stop other innocent people being scammed. I also want to make sure as many people share this as possible, so my driver’s licence is useless to them any more.
“And I would also like to tell people to keep all personal identification hidden at all times and never ask any seller or buyer to your house. I’ve learned the hard way from these mistakes. I thought I did good in not being scammed out of a laptop but I didn’t realise they got really more than they wanted with my driver’s licence.”
Speaking generally, Meath Crime Prevention Officer Sgt Patrick Smyth advised: “We are aware of so many scams already and more and more are being developed on a weekly basis so it really is a case of buyer beware. Only buy from reputable sites and even at that, be careful of who you are selling to or buying from.
“Meet the buyer or seller in a public place where there are a lot of people around, never at your home address or somewhere remote. Be very mindful of the information you share and only use Electronic Funds Transfer through your bank.
“Beware of amazing deals and never use your personal email. Check your bank statements at least once a week for any fraudulent transactions and report all such suspicious activity to An Garda Síochána.”