Online and computer frauds

Trojan Viruses

A Trojan is a computer program that appears legitimate (you may not even know that it is on your PC), but performs some illicit activity when it is run. It may be used to locate password information or make the system more vulnerable to future entry or simply destroy programs or data on the hard disk.

Unsolicited Virus, Infected Email or “Order Received / Invoice Processed”

We have received a number of reports where individuals have received Virus Infected unsolicited email claiming to inform Email users about anything from “Order Received / Invoice Processed” and variations thereof. The trend with this latest email scam is to invite unsuspecting users to a website where a virus is downloaded which may subsequently infect the PC. As with any unsolicited communication, you are advised to delete any suspicious communication if unsure of the origin/source.


Fraudsters will “fish” private information out of a person through email. They’ll usually request an update or verification of your password. Then they’ll use it to “fish” from a person’s bank account.

Beware of emails that appear to be from charities. Not all will be real and bogus sites could steal your credit card details. These "Phishing" emails can also pretend to be banks, telephone companies and even the revenue commissioners. There is even now a category of "recession based" scams which involve targeting consumers with products such as pre approved loans etc. There is also an increase in "Smishing" attacks, that is phishing messages sent out by text.

Vishing or Smishing

Vishing or Smishing is the act of using the Voice or SMS in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. The scammer usually pretends to be a legitimate business, and fools the victim into thinking he or she will profit.

Warning: Customers should note that we will never ask you for this information either by email or telephone and you should never disclose this information to anyone.


Fraudsters will make a fake website or email that looks like a real one that a person uses regularly. They can acquire personal information like passwords, credit card numbers, and account numbers.

“Free Trial” online

Various products are advertised as “Free trial”. In many cases the terms and conditions of the “Free trial” are not read. Often the “free trial” will only cost you your shipping payment. But you may be signing up for a subscription. If you do not cancel this subscription within the timeframe on the terms and conditions you will be charged the monthly subscription. In order to cancel future payments you then have the inconvenience of having to advise the merchant in writing. You will have no comeback on the monthly payments already made. These transactions are not fraudulent as all details were given to the company willingly.

Online sales and bank drafts

Care should be taking when selling goods or services via the internet. Many fraudsters try to buy goods against payment with a bank draft. We recommend that if you are accepting a bank draft from an unknown person that you ensure you identify the individual. We also recommend that goods or cash refunds are not released until you are satisfied that the bank draft has been paid. It should be noted that it can take up to four weeks to clear a foreign bank draft.

On occasions fraudsters will send a bank draft in excess of the payment due and request a refund of the difference by cash. Under no circumstances should you make a refund until the bank draft/cheque has been cleared by your bank.

Selling goods online

Do not release goods to a stranger where the goods are being paid for with uncleared drafts/cheques. Make sure that the purchaser is genuine. Be extremely careful if you are given a draft/cheque in excess of the transaction amount and are requested to return money to a purchaser prior to a cheque or draft being cleared by your Bank.

Buying expensive goods online

Make sure that the seller is genuine and that the product actually exists. Where the item is a vehicle ensure that the seller is the registered owner. Do not hand over any payment until you have taken possession of the item.

Free iPads

Offers of free iPads and similar gadgets are included in most cyber scams lists at the moment. Victims are often requested to participate in some sort of basic quiz or supply their mobile telephone number. In many cases their mobile phone is then "subscribed" to some sort of service that costs Euro X per week.

Social Networking Friend Requests

Scammers take advantage of this social time of year by sending out authentic looking friend requests via email. You should not click on the links in the email but sign into your social networking site and look there for friend requests. If you click on a link it could install malware on your computer. Beware of related scams such as "Help I’ve been Mugged!", this is when you receive a fake distress message from someone in your network requesting money as they have been robbed whilst travelling.

Fake Christmas Cards

Be careful if clicking on a Christmas E-card or Gift Cards. This method is used to install Malware and other bad stuff. Many E-cards look genuine and authentic so be very careful when considering click on them. If you use an E-Card service obviously make sure it is a reputable one.

Social Network Virus

This is very basic and involves a friend posting a link on your social network wall page or in the status update. This gives the impression that the site is a safe site to visit. However, in some cases it is the result of malware and could result in the download of viruses on your machine.

Money Mules and Job Vacancies

Fraudsters will advertise “Job vacancies” on the internet. Usually you will need no experience and the only requirement will be that you hold a Bank Account. Once recruited the “Money Mule” will be duped into receiving stolen funds into their account. A request will then be received to forward the funds less a commission, usually overseas, using a wire transfer service.

  • If a job sounds too good to be true then it probably is.
  • Always research the job and ensure that the business is legitimate.

PC Support Fraud

Criminals will attempt to gain access to your computer by calling up and saying you have a problem with your computer. They often claim to be from large legitimate corporations and will either ask for a payment to fix your computer or ask you to download a software patch. In the first case they will steal your credit cards details and in the second instance they will infect your machine with spyware or malware that will provides access to your machine bandwidth to support other attacks.

Card not present fraud

Fraudsters make purchases from a stolen card, by obtaining details from discarded receipts, by copying down details during a transaction, or while a person is online.

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