Bank of Ireland has warned that it has seen a 50% increase in detections of so-called "smishing" cases since the introduction of a new tactic by fraudsters seeking to access customer funds using Apple or Google Pay.

The scam involves fraudsters sending fake text messages to people which appear to come from a delivery company, An Post, or Government agencies such as the HSE and Revenue.

If the customer clicks on the link in the message, they are brought to a fake website and asked to put in their card or online banking details.

Bank of Ireland says this information is then used to set up Apple or Google Pay on the customer's card.

Alternatively, the customer’s online banking access is moved to a new device.

The bank has warned that if the one-time passcode sent to the customer by it is given away to the fraudster, they can then achieve full access to the account.

It has warned that if the customer stops part the way through the scam process, a call is sometimes made by the fraudsters, purporting to be from Bank of Ireland, seeking to get their details or one-time passcode.

The lender claims it has seen a spike in such "smishing" cases as part of a new wave of the fraudulent text messages which are being circulated.

"Fraudsters tend to use a range of tactics that have been the subject of regular warnings for some time," said Edel McDermott, Head of Fraud, Bank of Ireland.

"When a new variation on a familiar theme crops up, this is a cause for real concern, and we are warning customers to be extra vigilant."

"Text messages appearing to be from third parties like delivery companies or Government agencies should be treated with caution and verified accordingly."

The bank says it will never send a text or email with a link directly to the login page of its online banking channels seeking to confirm or update details.

It will also never ask customers to click a link in an email with an urgent warning about suspicious activity on your account.

Nor will it ever ask a customer to transfer money out of their account to protect them from fraud.