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Clare woman falls victim to ‘Amazon’ scam


A CLARE woman was scammed out of “considerable” amounts of money from her bank account after being targeted in a telephone fraud.
Gardaí in Clare are investigating after the woman, who lives in the north of the county, was repeatedly contacted by the scammer who had claimed to be working for Amazon.
The woman received an automated call which told her that she was due a refund for a subscription to Amazon Prime of €79.99 which she had not authorised for a period of months.
She was instructed to press 1 and she was then transferred to the scammer who posed as a staff member.
According to Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Triona Brooks, “The male on the phone who had a foreign accent gave her the name of Michael.
“He requested that she log onto her Amazon Account which she did and she gave him her email address, user ID and password giving him access to all of her information.
“He proceeded to contact her a number of times getting her to download three different apps on her phone. All the time telling her he was helping her to get her money back. He was sometimes quite persistent on the phone and flustered the lady.
“He continued to call over a period of four days and took considerable amounts from her AIB and BOI accounts.”
In light of this latest incident, gardaí are again urging people to be wary of potential scams.
Sergeant Brooks advised, “Never divulge personal or bank account details until you have validated that the caller is a genuine representative of the organisation they claim to represent. Hang up, look up the number independently.”
“Don’t assume you can trust caller ID. Fraudsters can spoof their numbers so it looks like they are calling from a particular company even when they are not.”
This latter point has been underlined by a recent and ongoing scam in which fraudsters have cloned the official phone number of the Department of Social Protection.
Sergeant Brooks said, “Your bank will never ask you for your credit or debit card PIN number or full online banking password.
“Your bank will never request you withdraw money to hand over to them or transfer money to another account, even if they say it is for safekeeping.”
She added that people should take the caller’s number and advise them that you will call them back once you have validated their identity.
“Use a phone number from the phone book or their website, not one given to you by the caller as this could be fake.
“If the caller is genuine they will understand and welcome your need to validate them. Don’t allow yourself to be rushed. Take your time and do the relevant checks.”

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