Gardaí issue warning after Phone Watch customers scammed

Man posing as staff member has taken bank cards and withdrawn money at ATMs

Gardaí have received multiple reports of householders being scammed by a man posing as a worker for an alarm company who has taken their bank cards and withdrawn money at ATMs.

Detectives are now linking at least six cases in counties Cork, Tipperary and Limerick but they believe many others could have fallen victim to the scam, which gardaí suspect is being carried out by one person.

In some cases, cash has been taken out of bank accounts via ATMs several times before the card owner, and victim of the scam, realised they were being targeted.

The man has called to houses posing as an employee of Phone Watch, the monitored home alarm company, and been invited into those homes.


"This man, who possesses apparent Phone Watch paraphernalia and literature, stated he would upgrade their system for a fee," the Garda said in a statement in relation to one case in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, last Saturday, February 29th.

“When the victim handed over his debit card for payment, the man asked the injured party to enter his pin number into a small device he was carrying. He then retained the debit card and handed back a different one.”

In that case cash was then withdrawn on the bank card from a number of banks in Tipperary and Limerick on the day the card was stolen and the following day.

Garda sources said in the cases that have been linked to the same perpetrator, described as having glasses and dark hair, several thousand euros had been taken.

Gardaí have appealed for people to be careful when providing any details to people not known to them but who call to their homes, especially bank details.

They have urged people not to invite callers into their home if they had any doubts about their bona fides, but to instead call gardai.

Garda sources said older people were more vulnerable to such scams but added the man involved in the latest incidents has been describing as “very convincing”.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times