Text scam tells recipients to click link for Covid-19 test, gardaí warn

Fraudsters likely to seek personal information and payment for test or vaccine

Members of the public are being warned of the dangers of “smishing”, or text message scams, where individuals are receiving texts from senders who claim to be from the HSE informing them of the need to book a Covid-19 test through a link on the text.

An Garda Síochána at the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) stress that once the individual clicks on the scam link they will be taken to a cloned website.

Once there the fraudsters will seek their personal information, including their PPS number and payment for the Covid-19 test or vaccine. In most cases the links look very similar to the authentic HSE URL but may be misspelled.

Gardaí emphasised that the HSE will never look for payment for Covid-19 tests or vaccinations and the public should be wary of such text messages.

They also indicated that other "smishing" texts may purport to be from utility companies, Revenue, banks and/or delivery businesses.

“Some can fit into the threads of previously received genuine texts which adds an air of authenticity to them.”

Gardaí are urging the public not to clink on a link of an unsolicited text, email or respond to cold callers seeking personal information.

“Do not use, reply or call the number supplied by these texts. Never give away personal data like PIN number, card numbers, passwords, one-time codes, PPS numbers. The HSE will never text you seeking payment for Covid-19 tests or vaccines. If you have responded to such a text or paid the scammers, contact your bank immediately for a recall.”

They add that it is also vital that you report the matter to your local Garda Station.