Gardaí warns public of online scam targeting vulnerable people

The victims were made to pay €182 as a “processing fee”.

Gardaí is warning the public to beware of an online loan scam targeting vulnerable people.

Sergeant John Kelly detailed the scam when speaking to Patricia Messinger on C103’s Cork Today Show.

“Obviously every community, you have your local credit union, and credit unions are well used to dealing with back-to-school loans and things like that,” Kelly said.

“But please avoid applying online, Facebook ads for these payday loans and things like that.

“There was a case in Naul where someone applied online for a loan where they had to pay something like €182 up front, paid the money, and obviously no loan afterwards.”

“So the scammers are out there looking for this [opportunity] as well.”

Sergeant Kelly said people should be wary of excuses provided by scammers when asking for money in advance.

“Oh, there’s a cost to get the loan and everything, but if you have an advance [cost]get away right away.

“And obviously, make sure that if you searched for something on Google, those ads might show up on Facebook next.

“So be very, very careful who you negotiate with when looking for a loan online.”

Scams and fraud have increased exponentially since last year, with a whopping 370% increase in fraudulent calls in 2021.

Earlier this month, Gardaí warned the public about a “Hi Mum” scam, which involved them sending money to those they thought were their children.

“They thought it was their son or daughter contacting them, that they needed money in an account and gave an account number,” Sergeant Kelly said.

“There were a few thousand dollars paid.

“It’s not the first time we’ve seen him.”

The Garda encouraged the public to remain vigilant and to share information about the scam among groups of friends and peers.

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