Fraudsters using information taken from social media users

Details of work and social life from social media being used to create credibility

‘We’re putting too much information about where we are, who we’re with and what we’re doing’, on social media,  according to Chief Supt Pat Lordan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau.

‘We’re putting too much information about where we are, who we’re with and what we’re doing’, on social media, according to Chief Supt Pat Lordan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau.

 

Gardaí have warned companies and individuals against posting information on social media that could be used against them in worsening frauds aimed mainly at the business sector.

Chief Supt Pat Lordan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said companies and individuals were sharing far too much detailed information on social media that was being used against them by fraudsters.

It was common, he said, for companies that had senior members of staff attending conferences to share a photo on Twitter of those personnel in attendance, with the conference name, location and date clear to see.

“We’re putting too much information about where we are, who we’re with and what we’re doing” on social media, he said.

A fraudster could gather a lot of information from social media about a company owner or senior executive relating to that person’s work and social activities over a long period of time, he said.

They could then contact junior members of staff in that company, usually by email, and pass themselves off as a business associate or close friend of the senior person in the company.

Once they had gained the confidence of the person they were contacting, that was then used as leverage for fraud.

For example, by posing as a member of staff from a supplier of goods or services to the company, the fraudster could present new bank account details for future payments to be made to. When that supplier of goods and services sent an invoice to the company at a later date, the money payable to them would be transferred into the fraudster’s account.

Gardaí said it often took several days before both companies in the relationship realised something was afoot, by which time the money may have been moved through several jurisdictions or even withdrawn.

Fraudsters were even posing as the company chief executive and sending emails to junior members of staff requesting their next salary payment be made into a new bank account.

Since the start of the year some €4.4 million has been stolen, with €1.28 million recovered by gardaí. There have been 132 crimes since the start of the year and in April alone some €2.27 million was stolen. And frauds aimed at Irish companies or individuals this year ranged in value from €700 to $1 million (€890,000).