Motorway text scams are on the rise

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  • Easter commuters should be extra vigilant
  • More commuters means extra potential smishing fraud victims
  • Never trust text messages, always verify

Bank of Ireland is warning about an escalating wave of fraudulent text messages, with fraudsters pretending to be a motorway operator and sending messages urging customers to pay outstanding toll charges or update account details. The website links in these messages are not genuine and are an attempt to collect personal card and online banking details.

The Bank is currently seeing a large spike in motorway-themed smishing, and is warning customers to be particularly wary with more commuters hitting the roads this Easter weekend.

Discussing the latest wave, Nicola Sadlier, Head of Fraud, Bank of Ireland said: “Smishing attacks tend to come in waves, and the latest theme is motorway fraud, where fraudsters are sending fake text purportedly from operators such as eFlow. When you click on the text it leads to a fake website where some will end up providing their confidential card and bank account details. As more people will be hitting the roads this Easter weekend, they might be more inclined to click on such a text message thinking it is legitimate.

“In the past we have seen similar waves of fraudulent messages appearing to be from delivery services, Government agencies or banks and now it seems that motorway smishing is trending. Text messages should be treated with extreme caution – the general rule is never trust, always verify.”

Bank of Ireland’s advice to customers in response to the current smishing scam:

  • Do not click on links or respond to SMS text messages which appear as if sent by a motorway toll operator looking for payment for an unpaid toll;
  • Remember that companies such as these, or banks, delivery companies, utility providers and Government agencies will never send a text linking to a website that requests online banking details;
  • eFlow has advised anyone who receives a text message regarding unpaid tolls to ignore the message and not to open any links. eFlow does not ask customers to open any links to confirm payment details;
  • Verify the identity of the sender. Call the company using their legitimate phone number (ensure you source it independently of any SMS);
  • If you get a suspicious text, please email a screenshot of the text to 365Security@boi.com and then delete the text; and
  • Bank of Ireland customers who think they gave away their banking details should call our 24/7 Freephone line 1800 946 764 immediately.

For more advice and information on fraud, visit boi.com/security or www.fraudsmart.ie