Bank customers have been warned over a "smishing" scam, where fake text messages are being sent in a bid to gain access to financial information.

Gardaí and the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) say fake text messages are being sent to people asking them to confirm personal details or click on links to unfreeze their accounts.

Detective Chief Superintendent Patrick Lordan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said banks or other financial institutions would never make unsolicited contact with customers asking for personal details.

He warned anyone who may have received such a message not to reply, and contact their bank directly to check if the communication is valid.

The scam involves a message, which imitates a text from a bank, asking the receiver to click on a link to a website to "verify", "update" or "reactivate" their account.

The text may also ask people to reply to it with personal or financial information.

Gardaí say if the text includes a link, the website is a false one and people run the risk of downloading dangerous malware to their computer or phone.

They also say the text message can convey a sense of urgency - such as telling people their money is in danger or their account will be frozen.

Bank of Ireland issued a security notice to customers over the scam

'Smishing' scam warning signs

  • The text message will be unsolicited. 
     
  • The text message will always seek information that allows access to bank accounts. Banks or other financial institutions would not look for that kind of information.
     
  • The text will instruct the individual to go to a website or make a phone call to a specified number.
     
  • The text will create a fear that if the customer does not take action requested in the text, their account will be compromised.
     
  • The text will emphasise the need for urgent action by the recipient of the text.