Public warned about ‘sophisticated scam’ aimed at those receiving benefits

Scam texts and messages offer people the chance to claim a payment for €350

The Department of Social Protection  has said it has been alerted to people receiving phone calls and mobile text messages purporting to come from welfare officials. Photograph: iStock

The Department of Social Protection has said it has been alerted to people receiving phone calls and mobile text messages purporting to come from welfare officials. Photograph: iStock

 

The Department of Social Protection has warned the public about a “sophisticated scam” aimed at people receiving benefits at present.

The Department has said it has been alerted to people receiving phone calls and mobile text messages purporting to come from welfare officials.

The scam texts and messages offer people the chance to claim a payment for €350. When people click through to the link they are encourage to provide confidential social welfare and bank information.

At a press briefing in Government Buildings on Wednesday, a senior official in the Department of An Taoiseach said that the scam also involved phone calls coming from a wide range of numbers, including the Department of Social Protection’s own helpline.

“This is a sophisticated scam and we urge people to be extremely cautious,” said the official, Elizabeth Canavan.

“Please don’t engage with these calls or share any personal information.”

Mrs Canavan said although the numbers of the incoming calls include that of the Department’s own helpline, that number is never used to make calls by Social Protection, only to receive calls as a helpline.

No information is available as of now on whether or not any money was stolen using this scam, and, if so, the amounts involved.