Sarah McInerney tells how fraudsters accessed her bank account after she fell victim to a scam text

Broadcaster Sarah McInerney. File photo: Gerry Mooney

Maeve McTaggart

RTÉ presenter Sarah McInerney has revealed how fraudsters gained access to her bank account after she fell victim to a text scam.

The message – claiming to be from the eFlow toll company – told her there were issues with her payments and she would need to take a look at “the terms and conditions”.

After clicking the link, she told RTÉ Radio One Drivetime listeners, she “absent mindlessly put in information”.

“I then realised I put in my registration number for my bank and my personal access code – and when I clicked ‘send’ on the personal access code I realised: ‘What am I doing?’”

She said: "The problem was I clicked on the link and entered way too many details because I was busy eating my dinner and watching a programme and also scrolling on my phone at the same time - the opposite of mindfulness, basically, is what I was doing.

"And I clicked on this link for eFlow saying that I hadn't filled out the terms and conditions to allow my eFlow account to continue.

"And I sort of absentmindedly put in information and then realised I put in my registration number for my bank and personal access code."

The RTÉ presenter admitted that by the time she realised what was happening “it was too late”.

She tried to contact her bank but it was after 5pm. She says the guidance on what to do and who to call if you are the victim of fraud is not clear.

"Now I'm in a situation where I know I have given my bank details, and access to my online banking account to somebody and I don't know how to shut it down.

“And I had to start Googling sort of frantically trying to figure out what do I do and I looked at the security page of the bank and it didn't tell me what to do in this situation if this happens to you after hours."

Within 15 minutes, the scammer had attempted to make a couple of transactions from her bank account.

"The fraudsters are really quick and they are waiting for somebody to respond with their information and they are going to act on it straight away,” said Niamh Davenport, the head of financial crime with the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI).

"With any type of scam, one of the key things I'd always say is: time is of the essence and to report it to your bank as quickly as possible.”

The number on the back of all credit cards is a 24/7 emergency line, she added.

Today's News in 90 seconds - May 26th

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