Texts messages about welfare payments are scam, department says

Department said it does not ask for financial details through texts or social media

The text messages contain web links which the recipient is told to click on. Photograph: iStock

The text messages contain web links which the recipient is told to click on. Photograph: iStock

 

Scammers are texting members of the public and asking for personal details to manage social welfare claims, the Department of Social Protection has said.

It is the second reported scam relating to welfare payments in recent months, with the last scam concerning the pandemic unemployment payment.

In a statement, the department said it has “become aware” that some members of the public have received text messages on their mobile phones from an unknown number, purporting to be from the department.

The text messages contain web links which the recipient is told to click on. The web links are made to look similar to the actual web addresses of departmental sites.

When a person clicks on the link in the text messages, they are brought to a site that has been specifically crafted to look exactly like the department’s MyWelfare or MyGovID websites.

The person is then asked to provide their name, PPSN and bank account details.

“These are sophisticated scams. We urge our customers to be cautious when managing claims online and to ensure that they are using official Departmental websites,” a spokesman for the department said.

The real website addresses for the official welfare websites are www.mywelfare.ie and MyWelfare.ie and www.mygovid.ie.

The Department has urged customers and the public to be extra vigilant and only use one of the above addresses when wishing to access either MyWelfare or MyGovID websites.

“Please do not click on or reply to links which appear suspicious, or are not one of the above links,” the department said.

The department added that it “wishes to make it absolutely clear” that it never requests bank account or other financial institution account details from customers by text message or on social media.

“Neither do we clarify or check this information over the phone,” it added.

The department said it wants to ensure that customers and the public are made aware of this scam activity and that they keep their bank and other financial account information safe.

“When the department becomes aware of phishing sites it takes this very seriously and makes every effort to have these sites removed as quickly as possible,” it said.

“Anyone who thinks they provided personal information in response to these fraudulent text messages should contact their bank immediately.”