Public warned of ‘customs’ text and email scam amid Brexit confusion

Amid an increase in online shopping and the introduction of customs fees due to Brexit, An Garda Siochana are warning the public of a new scam being circulated.

With parcel deliveries increasing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gardaí have warned of the potential risk to their personal and payment data.

In the scam, emails and texts are being circulated under the branding of various courier companies. In these emails/texts, the recipient is told they have to pay an additional cost for customs clearance prior to delivery of their parcel.

In some cases, the emails and texts have been circulated in Irish.

Recipients are asked not to provide payment details, and to take a screenshot of the text/email, delete it, and anyone who believes they have been the victim of the scam is asked to report the matter to their local Garda station.

These scams are taking advantage of the confusion around Brexit, Gardai say.

An Garda Síochána is advising the following:

  • Those who receive unsolicited correspondence and are awaiting a package to first independently verify the status of their package with the relevant postal service or courier.
  • Never click on links in an unsolicited text or email, never provide payment details or give away personal data like your PIN, card numbers or passwords.
  • Do not respond to such messages and delete straight away.
  • Never open attachments in unsolicited emails and to make sure your computer has the most up-to-date anti-virus software installed.
  • Be weary of unsolicited phone calls. There are some critical pieces of advice that consumers must follow to help protect their finances and their bank account.

Detective Superintendent Michael Cryan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said: “Be careful, do your research, don’t rush in, ask yourself why me? Why am I getting this great offer, and if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is”.

Other online shopping safety tips from An Garda Siochana include:

  • Only use secure sites and make sure you are on the real site. Check the URL and look for the trust seals.
  • Make sure to check these sites privacy policy, refunds policy and contact us section – Use trusted payment methods and never send cash
  • Use sites where a padlock symbol is shown beside the website address
  • Do not under any circumstances use public Wi-Fi when making payments – switch to 3G/4G on your phone if necessary
  • Independently visit the website of the online sales company as opposed to clicking on social media or pop-up adverts
  • Be cautious about claiming outrageous offers – if it sounds too good to be true it probably is
  • Stick to well-known websites or websites that you are familiar with or websites associated with high street retail outlets.

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