Scam of the week: Bank of Ireland customers targeted with Text Message Phishing Scam

July 25, 2019 10:48 am Geraldine Strawbridge Bank of Ireland phishing scam

Bank of Ireland has urged customers to be wary of a new text message phishing scam designed to steal their personal and financial banking details.

Fraudsters are sending out text messages that appear to come from Bank of Ireland in an attempt to trick customers into disclosing their personal details.

The text message claims the customer’s account has been frozen as the bank is unable to validate their information. To avoid their account being suspended, the user is invited to click on a link.

Image: Bank of Ireland Phishing Scam (Source: Twitter)

If the user clicks on the link, they are redirected to a phishing website that has been set up to harvest their personal data. Once they enter their details, the crooks can then use their information to commit identity fraud or try and gain access to other user accounts.

After a large number of customers reported the text, Bank of Ireland issued a warning on social media to urge customers not to disclose their personal information.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the bank said: “We are aware of a phishing/fraudulent SMS which has been sent, Bank of Ireland would never send an SMS asking you to disclose any of your personal information. Please delete this SMS.”

Phishing can take many different forms and in recent years we’ve noticed a steep increase in ‘Smishing’. Smishing is a type of phishing that uses SMS messages as opposed to emails to trick unsuspecting victims. These scams are proving to be particularly effective as people tend to be more trusting of text messages than email, and it’s often more difficult to determine if a link is malicious or not. 

Fraudsters will typically send a text message to an individual’s phone and include an urgent call to action to illicit an immediate response. Messages will often claim to be from banks, retailers, tax revenue systems and may even appear to be from someone the user knows. The aim of the scam is to trick individuals into divulging sensitive information such as account details, credit card details or usernames and passwords.

How to protect yourself against Smishing

  • Don’t click on any links within the text message – There’s a good chance that if you click on the link, your personal details will be stolen, or your device will be infected with malware.
  • Don’t reply to the text or call the number back – Scam text messages will often encourage you to text ‘stop’ to stop receiving the text messages. This is often just a way for the scammers to confirm if the number is active. If you reply, you may end up getting bombarded with more spam text messages.
  • Call the company directly to check if the text is legitimate – Source the number from the company’s official website and inquire about the text message you’ve received. The company will be able to confirm if they have issued the text or not.
  • Do a web search of both the number and the content of the message – If you suspect you’ve received a scam text, you should do a Google search. These scams are often issued in a scattergun approach and many people will go online to share their experiences or to check if the scam is widespread.
  • And remember -If an offer seems too good to be true, it usually is!

If you’re looking to start a phishing awareness campaign or would like more information on how to protect yourself online, get in touch to find out how we can help. MetaPhish has been specifically designed to protect businesses from phishing and ransomware attacks and provides the first line of defence in combating cyber-crime.