Watch out for this WhatsApp / scam doing the rounds

Daft is looking for the public's assistance in shutting the scam down

Gardai have been notified of a WhatsApp based scam, targeting consumers. The scam involves individuals posing as landlords, looking to take advantage of those on the hunt for rented accommodation. The criminals then attempt to extort money from would-be tenants. 

The sophisticated scam entails the criminals using the landlord's phone numbers, featured within property ads, to pose as staff via WhatsApp. The landlords are sent a link to a website, featuring an old Daft logo, and asked to enter a number of personal details. This then allows the criminals to edit the ads and target potential renters. 

Since becoming aware of the scam, has reached out to WhatsApp for assistance in shutting it down by blocking the numbers.  

The site has warned its customers to watch out for certain "red flags" that may help them identify a false advert. These include typos, below-market rental price, out-of-the-country landlord or an unwillingness by the "landlord" to show the property. Users are asked to use the 'Report Ad' button if they come across a suspicious ad. 

Other scams

As we approach the festive season, consumers are asked to exercise caution to ensure they do not fall victim to any of the various online scams. 

You may have received a call, text or email in recent times, claiming to be from a service provider, offering a refund or tax back. To claim the money, you need to click on a link and insert bank details. You know that saying “If it seems too good to be true then it probably is”? That applies here. This is the very definition of phishing. 

Phishing is the term for online identity theft and fraud. Those behind the attacks seek to obtain the personal information of their victims, such as passwords, bank account information and credit card details by sending a spoof electronic communication from what looks like a legitimate source.

Clicking a link contained in such an email puts your information at risk.

In the last few months alone Irish Water, and multiple banks have been used as cover by the cybercriminals. These systems are becoming more sophisticated but there's a few simple things you can do to ensure you and your data stay safe.

  • Look for urgency: If the email states urgent action is required to verify your details or process a refund, do not act. Chances are it’s a phishing expedition.
  • Company info: Many of these phishing attempts involve criminals posing as a well known company or bank. Always check the sender’s email address. Look at any logos within the email and hover your mouse over any link within the email (don’t click on it); this may show a falsified website. If it doesn’t look legit, bin it.
  • Spelling: Watch out for appalling typos or sentences that just don’t make sense. We often scan emails rather than reading them fully so if you are suspicious, take a moment or two to read the entire email. If you spot something that dodgey, bin it.
  • Verify: If you are still unsure about the legitimacy of an email, call the provider and explain your situation. This may take a few minutes out of your day, but it’s better than losing money to a phishing scam.