‘I’d never fall for that’ – Here’s how quickly online scammers can reel you in

“I’ve watched these scams from afar and thought, ‘I wouldn't fall for that, how stupid do you have to be?'

15.24 17 Jun 2024

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‘I’d never fall for that’ – He...

‘I’d never fall for that’ – Here’s how quickly online scammers can reel you in


15.24 17 Jun 2024

Share this article

For years, Irish Independent producer JJ Clarke thought he would never fall victim to an online scam.

Tired and hungry in a Swiss airport, however, he learned just how easy it can be to make the wrong move and find yourself out of pocket.

He joined Lunchtime Live this afternoon to reveal how it happened – and warn others not to fall for the same scam.


“I’ve sort of watched these scams from afar and you hear about relatives and friends getting caught out and I’m like, ‘I wouldn't fall for that, like how stupid you have to be?’” he said.

“And then, obviously, I couldn't see past my own nose.”

JJ said it happened earlier this month as he was making his way to Indonesia through Zurich Airport in Switzerland.

He said he had “booked all the flights on the cheap” leaving himself small windows to make his transfers.

When his first flight was delayed, he found himself faced with a night on the floor of the Swiss airport and when he reported to the check-in desk the following day, he was told the airline had lost his bags.

He then missed his new set of flights while he was searching through lost and found for his bags.


JJ then took to Twitter to voice his anger with the airline – making sure he was tagging the right company, complete with its 305,000 followers.

Within minutes, he received a reply from what he thought was the airline, promising to rectify everything and re-imburse him for his missed flights.

“Context is important here,” he told the show. “I was very angry; I was sleep-deprived and I wanted a resolution.

“I wanted, I suppose, reimbursement or to get bumped up to a first-class or a business class flight and that blinded me – my desire blinded me.”

JJ said he gave the person who contacted him his phone number and immediately received a call from a 'Chris' who claimed to be from the airline.

Chris explained to him that in order to reimburse the money, he would need to set up a Remitly account and link it to his Revolut.


“He was very, very good at calming me, assuaging my fears and saying, ‘Listen, we're going to reimburse you the entire return trip flights, which roughly came to €800,” he said.

JJ said everything was going grand at first as he could see a message saying that €200 was being deposited in his Revolut account.

When he went to Revolut and confirmed that he knew the sender, the transaction came up as minus €200.

“So, I’m like Jesus, something feels off here and so I verbalised this to Chris and bear in mind, I'm on the phone all the time, he's like checking in with me – it's kind of a sales technique.

“So I say ‘Chris, what's going on?’ And he's just like, ‘Oh, it's no problem, you just have to wait until it lands’ – you know, he was very charismatic, very charming.”


Then, in a matter of seconds, three more €200 transactions saw a total of €800 leaving JJ's account.

Very quickly, JJ realised that he had been scammed.

“I said to him on the phone, you know, ‘I'm contacting the police straight away; I'm going to get you for this’ – sort of like Liam Neeson ‘Taken’ style,” he said.

“But, yeah, I mean, it's just another Saturday for him so it was just, click, hang up and then it just all lands on me while I'm in the seating area in Zurich Airport and I was like, ‘Crap, I'm down €800.’”

JJ said he is embarrassed by what happened but decided to speak out in the hope it might prevent others from falling for the same scam.

“Even if you're listening to this and you think, ‘You know, JJ is an idiot, that would never happen to me,’ I mean, I can see your point of view but that was me two weeks ago,” he said.

You can listen back here:

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