Gardaí warn against 'Smishing' attack on Donegal bank customers

"If you act as a money mule you will be arrested" - Gardaí

Gardaí warns against 'Smishing' attack on Donegal bank customers

An image of an example of the type of texts you are being told to ignore

An Garda Síochána and Allied Irish Banks, plc are seeing a large increase in ‘smishing’ attacks on Allied Irish Bank customers in the month of January, 2021.

The fraudster are sending a text to a person purporting to be from AIB and advising the person to click a review or block a fraudulent transaction or advise the person that they have been locked out of their account.

The text will encourage the person to click on a link and asked to input codes from their Card Reader or divulge their One Time Passcode (OTP).

This information is sufficient for the fraudster to access the person’s account and transfer money out.

The gardaí and AIB would like to advise account holders, as follows:

• Never disclose their Registration Number or Personal Access Code (PAC) or card information after clicking a link on a text.
• Never generate codes from their AIB Card Reader to cancel transactions.
• Never divulge their One Time Passcode (OTP) to cancel transactions.
• AIB will never ask you not to log back into your account.
• AIB will never ask you to click on a link.

If anyone has received such a call or text message and have disclosed any information, they should contact AIB immediately.

AIB customers can find out more information and advice from the bank's website. Similar frauds may be perpetrated against customers of other Banks and the same advice applies.

These frauds cannot occur without the co-operation of people who allow their accounts to be used – so called Money Mules. Acting as a money mule is very serious offence.

The offence is contrary to the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act, 2010 and carries a 14 year prison sentence.

A conviction for money laundering means:

• Bank account is closed and bank won’t entertain any new applications
• Potentially carries a prison sentence of 14 years
• Could be on terrorist watch lists
• Won’t get a visa to work in US, Australia, Middle East etc
• Your credit rating in future will be affected
• Difficult to get students loans, ordinary loans, overdrafts and even mortgages
• Could even be difficult getting a phone contract
• Will effect ability to find employment
• Could affect vetting applications especially if wanting to work with charities, sports clubs, any job with responsibility
• You are helping international criminal organisations to commit other crimes, such as terrorism financing, people smuggling, trafficking of humans, drug trafficking and even wars.

"If you have been approached to allow your account to be used to receive money into it, DO NOT DO IT. Do not withdraw or transfer any money than is lodged. It is stolen money and by doing so you are committing Money Laundering.

"Tell your parents, teacher, report it to your bank and gardaí. If you act as a money mule you will be arrested. Its your name, your ID what was used to open the account.

"Your card used to withdraw / transfer the money. It may even be your face on the CCTV withdrawing the money.

"There is a 132% increase in the amounts of ‘smishing’ reported to gardaí for the first 20 days of January 2021 as against the first 20 days of January, 2020.

"This will rise considerably more once more and more people realise that they were the victims of a fraud," warned a garda spokesperson.

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