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Fake PUP texts latest Covid-19 scam to hit Irish phones


The latest Covid-19 scam to hit Irish phones involves fake text messages claiming to be a link to claim €350, the Department of Social Protection has warned.

The fraudulent messages, which first hit phones back in the summer, have started to reappear again this week and are linked to a “sophisticated scam”, says Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys.

With around 145,000 people now claiming the PUP across Cork – and 475,000 nationwide – the fraudsters behind the scheme are counting on a just a small number of people clicking on the link and providing sensitive personal data including bank account details.

And the Department of Social Protection, which runs the scheme for workers made temporarily unemployed as a result of Covid-19, has said again it would never request bank or financial account details via text or social media.

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys has urged PUP recipients to only use official departmental websites for correspondence.

“Anyone who thinks they provided personal information in response to these fraudulent text messages should contact their bank immediately,” she said.

The number of people claiming the PUP has gone up again this week to around 475,000, the highest number since the first lockdown was lifted in June. A further 15,443 people (some 3 per cent) were added to the total last week.

There are also 189,860 people on the Live Register, which means over 650,000 workers are now receiving some kind of state support.

Ms Humphreys said the rate of increase in the numbers going on to the PUP has reduced significantly in comparison with recent weeks.

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The construction industry, recently shut down except for essential projects, has added huge numbers to those entitled to state support during this third lockdown.





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