Gardaí warn of scam based on force’s own ‘Confidential Line’ number
Fraudsters seek to secure personal financial details while pretending to be members of the force during calls
Gardaí have warned people to be wary of calls which come from a number almost identical to that of the the ‘Garda Confidential Line’ in which personal financial details are requested. Photograph: iStock
Gardaí are warning people that scammers are targeting members of the public in a phone-based confidence trick by posing as members of the force and using a phone number very similar to that of the ‘Garda Confidential Line’.
When the scammers ring people to try and steal their money, the number that comes up on the victim’s phones is 0-1800-666-111, which is identical to the Garda Confidential Line but for the zero digit at the start.
Gardaí believe that because the number people can see on the own phone from the incoming call is so similar to the Garda Confidential Line, and because the callers claim to be calling from the Garda force, many people may be convinced they are speaking to a garda.
In some cases, when a person answers the call they hear an automated message, purporting to come from the Garda and claiming a fine has gone unpaid. If they do not pay over the phone, it is suggested, they face arrest.
“Gardaí have become aware of slightly different variants of the scam which aims to obtain personal information such as bank account details and/or PPS numbers,” according to a statement from Garda Headquarters, Phoenix Park, Dublin.
In other calls, a person impersonating a Garda member claims to be investigating fraud and asks the person they are speaking to for some of their details to progress the investigation. Gardaí believe the personal information being sought will then be used to commit a fraud against that person.
Crime prevention officer for the Cork city Garda division, Sgt Brian McSweeney, said gardaí would never contact a person “out of the blue over the phone and request your bank account details”.
“If you are cold called from someone saying they are a member of An Garda Síochána and they are looking for bank details or your PPS number, ask them for their credentials and ring their Garda station to verify,” he said.
“Do not ring a number they give you as being that Garda station. Go to the Garda website and look up the station phone number.
“Whilst the scammers may change their stories or methods, their goal is always the same - they want to access your sensitive information. Never give out your information be it over the phone, text or email,” he said.