More than €100,000 have been stolen by scammers in the past two weeks, the police said as it warned the public not to fall victim to such crime.

In a statement on Sunday, the police said its Cyber Crime Unit received 200 scam reports in the period with each victim having between €800 and €1,800 debited from their bank accounts.

Postal operators scam

In a postal operators scam, victims generally receive an SMS or e-mail with the company’s logo informing them they have received a package. They are given instructions to press on a link and pay an administrative fee for the package to be delivered to them.

Once victims press the link, they are taken to a fake site where they are asked to input their credit card details. In certain cases, they are also asked for a password.

While victims think they are authorising the debit of a small amount of cash from their account - around €1.60, fraudsters use their details to debit a much bigger sum.

Bank notification scam

In a bank notification scam, victims are deceived into providing their credentials after they are informed of a “suspicious transaction”. They are requested to press on a link designed to steal their details.

So what can one do to avoid scams?

The police said one should not be hasty in pressing links and giving private information. If one took the time to study the link address (URL), one would realise that although similar to that of the genuine website, it is not the same.

Clients should not follow links from e-mails but should visit the genuine electronic site of the postal operator or the bank, the police said.

They added that people receiving SMSes or emails requesting them to go into their account or to provide payment details can verify whether such messages are genuine by directly contacting the company - by telephone, e-mail, or on social media.

It is important one did not use the telephone number or e-mail address provided in the suspicious message but those provided by the company.

Police appeal

The police appealed to victims of such scams, also known as SMShing, to immediately notify their bank about the unauthorised transactions that would have taken place and file a report with the police. 

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