Cyber sharks are becoming more and more present in Ireland.

Cyber ‘sharks’ on the hunt

Cybercrime is striking fear into the hearts of the young and old alike as people continue to experience up to five scam phone calls a day.

That’s according to county Cllr Ian Doyle who wants to know if the Irish National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has a role to play in fighting this type of crime.

Speaking at this week’s Cork County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting, Cllr Doyle acknowledged the role played by gardaí in the response to the recent cyberattack on the HSE but asked what could be done for individuals that are being targeted.

“There is no day of the week that you don't get five phone calls from (scam) phone numbers. I know of two people this week that got caught.

“When people get caught for sums of a hundred euros or so, they sort of write it off and say, 'God, we only got caught for a hundred euros’. “Is there a role for the division on cyberattacks for this sort of crime?” said Cllr Doyle.

Responding to the councillor’s question, Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin agreed that there has been a significant increase in cybercrime over the last year and that it has become a major issue.

Chief Superintendent McPolin said: “You have people out there, sharks, who are bombarding people and gaining access to people's bank account details. “There are so many different types of fraud. If you don't recognise the source or the message or the phone call, delete it and block the number. “All they are waiting for is one victim to click on the link so they can extract as much as they can from them. It is very soft money for these criminals.”

According to Citizens Information, the most common online scams today include accommodation scams, copycat websites imitating banks or Government departments, and mobile phone scams.

Citizens Information lists the following warning signs of a scam: • Unsolicited contact from a company out of the blue • A deal that seems too good to be true • You are asked to share personal details • You are being pressurised to respond quickly or transfer money quickly • You have been asked to pay by unusual method, for example through a transfer service like Western Union or virtual currency like Bitcoin • Contact details are vague • Misspellings or grammatical mistakes • You are asked to keep the offer quiet