The 19 scams targeting Irish people during Covid and what to watch out for


Here are the 19 scams that managers know about and what exactly is going on so you can be prepared to deal with them and avoid getting scammed among the thousands.

The public has been ravaged by ongoing scams amid Covid, via email, calls and texts with people claiming to be from public bodies.

As the Christmas season approaches, fraudulent activity will naturally increase with more and more people shopping online, booking vacations, going home, and more.

Here is a list provided by Citizens Information, on all the scams recently detected in Ireland and what is going on with each one.

Housing scams

You are required to pay a deposit by bank transfer to secure a house or apartment from a bogus hosting site.

Antivirus software scams

An email or phone call from a company that says your computer is infected with a virus and they can fix it by installing software to take control of your computer.

The software allows them to access your personal information or they may insist that you pay for them before handing you back control of your computer or files.

Charity scams

Scammers will ask you to donate to a fake charity or they’ll call your door, call you on the phone, or email you claiming to be a member of a real charity.

Classified scams

Scammers masquerading as legitimate sellers on classified websites to charge you for bogus goods or services.

Copy sites

Websites that offer services from ministries or local governments but are not official sites, promising to make the process faster or easier for an excessive price.

They are often very loyal to the original website, but check the web address before taking any action.

Door-to-door scams

Someone may knock on your door and offer you a product or service, convincing you to pay cash up front for a service that is never provided.

Counterfeit money scams

Scammers using the secondary ticket market to sell tickets that don’t exist for popular events, concerts and conferences.

Free trial scams

An advertisement that promotes a product or service by inviting you to try it for free or at a very low price.

When you sign up, you can sign up for a membership or subscription service that requires you to make expensive repeat payments.

Vacation rental scams

Fake websites and email offers for vacations or villas that do not exist. They require you to pay money directly to the fraudster’s account.

Investment scams

You or your business are investing in a questionable financial opportunity promising a high return or guaranteed profit.

Examples are investments in forestry, biofuels or exotic properties abroad.

Loan and credit scams

A company “guarantees” you a loan in exchange for an upfront payment.

Malware or ransomware

Software installed by crooks on your device that allows them to access your files, track what you are doing, or demand payment to “unlock” your computer or files.

Cell phone scams

For example, missed calls are scams where the scammer calls your phone and hangs up quickly.

If you call back the number and it’s a scam, you might pay extra for the call and not know it.

Phishing emails

A fake email, for example, claiming to be from your bank, trying to trick you into sharing your personal and financial information.

Prize and lottery scams

Asking you to pay a fee to claim your prize or winnings from a contest or lottery in which you have never entered.

Romantic and relationship scams

Fraudsters using dating sites, apps, or social media to request money, gifts, or personal information.


The crooks send you a threatening email claiming that your computer and webcam have been hacked and that you have been recorded watching pornographic videos.

They demand payment for the images not to be shown.

Smishing attacks

Smishing is a combination of the words “SMS” and “phishing”. This is a scam where scammers use text messages to trick you into opening a malicious attachment or link.

Social media scams

Scammers use social media for scams, including phishing quizzes to gain personal information, scammers posing as friends asking for money, advertisements for ‘free’ vouchers and products or services claiming the endorsement of a celebrity.

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